Category: Water

‘Sacred Rivers’ ceremony highlights faith in the face of climate change

Originally published 9/30/2019 by Riverkeeper’s Cliff Weathers

In a moving interfaith ceremony on September 26, those who protect the Hudson and Jordan Rivers joined with religious and indigenous leaders in an interfaith ceremony focused on tackling shared risks communities and ecosystems across the globe face from climate disruption.

The Sacred Rivers ceremony at the Union Theological Seminary’s James Memorial Chapel began with a welcome from Chief Dwaine Perry of the Ramapough Lenape Nation, who are original inhabitants of the region. The Lenape named the Hudson the Muh-he-kun-ne-tuk, the “river that flows two ways.” The ceremony highlighted how traditional, sacred, and secular concerns compel action and how communities of faith and environmental organizations can collaborate to reduce climate risk and build bridges of resilience at the local level.

Speakers at the event addressed the plights of both rivers as they face ongoing threats from climate change and development. EcoPeace Middle East — which has offices in Jordan, Israel, and Palestine with parallel staff in each office — gave a compelling presentation on the destruction of the Jordan River and their coordinated efforts to clean, revitalize, and bring sustainable development to the Jordan River and valley.

This was followed by a ceremony that combined the waters of the two rivers to signify connecting water from around the world and solidarity in fighting to protect it. Participants carried the ceremonial waters in a procession to the 125th Street Pier where they blessed and released them into the Hudson.

“It was a beautiful day that joined people from across the world, united in our fight to protect the water that sustains all of us; Mni Wiconi — water is life. EcoPeace Middle East is a testament to how working together we can perform Tikkun Olam (repairing the world). We really appreciate connecting with them around Climate Week and both our unified and diverse struggles.” said Jessica Roff, Riverkeeper’s Director of Advocacy and Engagement.

Several honored guests and ceremony participants were joined by Roff and Riverkeeper President Paul Gallay. They included Karenna Gore, Director of The Center for Earth Ethics;  the three directors from EcoPeace Middle East, Gidon Bromberg (Israel), Yana Abu Talib (Jordan) and Nada Majdalani (Palestine); and Rabbi Burt Visotzky of the Jewish Theological Seminary. Musical performer Bethany Yarrow led the audience in a spirited rendition of “River of Jordan,” a song written by her father, Peter Yarrow (Peter Paul and Mary):

There is only one river. There is only one sea.
And it flows through you, and it flows through me.
There is only one people. We are one and the same.
We are all one spirit. We are all one name.
We are the father, mother, daughter and son.
From the dawn of creation, we are one.
We are one.

***

To see more photos and learn more about Riverkeeper…

Original Caretakers Director, Mindahi Bastida joins Indigenous Voices Gathered in Manaus, Brazil to Support Global Efforts at Achieving the SDG’s

In the International Decade of Action for Water (2018-2028) and International Year of Indigenous Languages 2019, and coinciding with the international day of indigenous peoples (August 9), the international hydrological program celebrated with a seminar on Indigenous Knowledge for Integral Water Management in Latin America and the Caribbean in Manaus, Brazil, August 8-9, 2019

Following the seminar, on August 10th in Manaus, indigenous leaders met for a time of reflection and discussion of Agenda 2030 for the Sustainable Development Goals. Indigenous peoples across the globe have long understood the value of water and the way it connects us.  CEE supports opportunities for indigenous peoples to gather, fortify their alliances and articulate wisdom that can inform new models of economic and environmental health for the well being of our people and our planet.

Love the Water… World Water Day is Every Day

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):

Watershed Map

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.

WalkingWater.org

 

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

 

Water Liturgies

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