“Water, like religion and ideology, has the power to move millions of people. Since the very birth of human civilization, people have moved to settle close to it. People move when there is too little of it. People move when there is too much of it. People write, sing and dance about it. People fight over it. And all people, everywhere and every day, need it,” Mikhail Gorbachev, President of Green Cross International quoted in Peter Swanson’s ‘Water: The Drop of Life.’
South Africa is fabulously rich in natural resources – except for water. Our average national rainfall is less than half of the world’s average. Recurring droughts are repeated reminders that water is a precious gift. The current drought in the Northern Cape is reported to be the worst in 80 years. All faiths acknowledge the life sustaining gift of water and many celebrate its significance in sacred rituals.
“Water is everywhere and in all living things – we cannot be separated from water. No water, no life. Period. Water comes in many forms – liquid, vapor, ice, snow, fog, rain, hail. But no matter the form, it’s still water.” Robert Fulghum (1937 -)
“Water, then, is the most beautiful element and rich in usefulness, and purifies from all filth, and not only from the filth of the body but from that of the soul, if it should have received the grace of the Spirit.” John of Damascus (679?-749)
Our Constitution promises water as a basic human right and for most urban South Africans water is just the turn of a tap away. The International Blue Drop Certification Programme (2012) lists South Africa as one of only 12 countries worldwide with tap water that is certified as safe to drink.
This statistic is an important reminder of how precious clean water is and that we also have a responsibility both to use it wisely and not to pollute it.
Muslims are reminded by Sh. Dr Ridwaan Gallant of the Environmental Desk of the Muslim Judicial Council and a Board Member of SAFCEI “that Allah (SWT) is the real owner of everything in the universe. Humans are only trustees. Thus we are accountable for our use of all resources, including water”
Saturday, March 22 is World Water Day and a good time to wake up to water use in our homes, congregations and our communities. Are we water wise or water wasters? Earth Keeper Newsletter challenges us to find out.
Test your water use and responsibility here and make changes to save water.