Protecting clean water is one of the most important ways you can have a positive effect in your environment. In honor of World Water Day, we share Steps to Build Community and Congregation around Water.
Where is your water? Find your watershed.
Knowing where your Water comes from is the first step. Your Watershed is an area of land where rainfall, snowmelt, and other precipitation falls on the land and flows downstream into a lake, river, or stream ultimately becoming the source of the water you drink.
Use these on-line resources to identify your water source(s):
Topographical Map/ Watersheds
Learn your Water History
Has there been a history of positive life affirming activity in your water ways including crafts, creativity, trade and settlements? Are your lakes man-made or natural? Where are the Sites Sacred to the Indigenous Peoples’ of the land?
Who’s Land Am I On?
Walk the Path of your Water
Walking Water – Pilgrimage of your own Water Resources. This can begin as simply as taking a trip to a local lake, pond, ocean beach, stream, spring or well. Bring offerings, prayers, water songs or just your heart-felt intentions to make a new relationship with the Water. This can grow into a full Pilgrimage of walking the water from source to tap. You may seek out guides or indigenous allies to assist you in getting the best understanding of your watershed. Allow this to be a time to foster commitment to protecting these water resources for your family, your community and for the generations to come.
What’s in Your Water?
Testing your water. Including identifying areas along the Path of your Water that may be polluted or contaminated in some way. Is there a history of dumping industrial pollutants in that same water or nearby land?
CEE’s Catherine Flowers recommends contacting the Environmental Science or Biology department at your local college or university.
Wild Virginia hosts one-day trainings for volunteers to learn how to properly conduct water quality monitoring on streams in Virginia. WildVirginia.org
Introducing water as a topic in your faith based and community activities. Study the use of water in ritual, understanding the sacredness of water in your tradition and familiarizing yourself with the traditions of others. If appropriate, host a Laudato si’ study group. Create opportunities to share how We are all made out of Water. Water is Life. Understanding that protecting access to clean water is a sacred human right and an issue that concerns us all.
Center for Earth Ethics Water Liturgies
Being a Water Protector
Being a Water Protector can take many forms: ceremony, community clean up projects, organizing water walks, working with others to protect your water from legislation that allows polluters to poison the water. It centers around sharing with others the importance of water, that all life is sacred, and that Water is Life. This can include Water Atlases; Fountains; Community Clean Up projects; deepening research on Water Catchment Systems, and other water topics for use, conservation and protection, etc. Educators from across the country are developing Water centered curriculum for students of all ages.
If you are looking for other ways to take action, here are three: R.O.A.R.: Religious Organizations Along the River, Riverkeeper and Civil Disobedience Training – On the Frontlines of Water Protection – taking the next step.
Water and Art
Water themed events that bridge art, spirituality and activism can inspire changes in policy for local communities and beyond. You can curate art exhibits, concerts, and other performances with the theme of water. Make public murals to bring more awareness to water issues, engage indigenous voices in the process. Passionate Waters offers up a beautiful model for raising awareness and resources about Water through Art. We can successfully bring people together across sectors with our common goal for a better quality of life made stronger through our shared connection to Spirit.
Participate in Global Water Dance Day with groups in 120 countries around the world. They are offering a free webinar on World Water Day, March 22nd 2019 and this year’s Global Water Dances event is on June 15th.
Making Water a thing of Beauty and Reference for All
Now that you know your watershed, treat your community to an artist rendered custom Watershed Map to display that will inspire others to join you in building community and congregation around Water.
Watershed Maps for your Community
Women and Water
Women around the world have protected, tended and loved the Waters of Mother Earth for generations. It is a sacred responsibility and honor that many have forgotten. From an indigenous perspective, it is a vital role that women play ensuring humanity can and does live in harmony with the natural world. Women everywhere are invited to restore their innate connection with the Water.
Keep your own daily practices or walks with water. Lead the building of congregation or community around the sacredness of Water where you are. From daily mindfulness rituals to thank the water when you drink it, to organizing events to connect your community to it’s water source. No effort is too great or too small. Remember you are Water and Water is Life. Keep the Waters Clean, keep the Waters Pure, keep the Waters Available for All, and let the Waters run free. Share this knowledge of and appreciation of water with others.
Participate in events and groups with others:
Grandmother Josephine Mandamin inspired all of us to treat the water with the love and kindness and respect it deserves. Though she has moved on, her Women and Water Coming Together Symposium conference will go on. To learn more about her life, her life’s work and the upcoming conference visit: Spirit of the Water.org
More than three decades ago, two courageous women saw a need and took a risk that has shaped the feminist religious movement. Mary E. Hunt and Diann L. Neu gathered thirteen women from various faith backgrounds and created a place where women’s religious needs could be met and women’s creativity nurtured. WATER was born. We promote empowerment, justice, peace, and systemic change. Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER)
Women of the Water is collecting stories from women who Love the Water. Tell us why you Love the Water, what Water related issues are you most passionate about, and what are your visions for clean and healthy water going forward? What events are you doing for World Water Day and beyond?
Other Ways to Celebrate Water and International Days for Collective Water Education
International Day of Rivers, March 14
UN World Water Day, March 22
World Oceans Day, June 8
World Water Week, September