Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletOctober 20, 2019

Earth Concerns News

Recognize Water as a Gift To Be Shared Among All God's Children by Mickey Kelley, CSJ Associate

In this 21st century, we are challenged especially to extend our care giving to the Earth which is God's gift to us. It is no longer enough to think of one's own immediate comfort and convenience. Tending the Earth is a personal, communal and global imperative. How are we being challenged to show mercy and compassion to this magnificent but ailing planet? We tend the Earth when we refuse to buy products that pollute the air and threaten diminishing resources, when we use gas and oil in moderation, when we join local and national efforts to protect wildlife and natural resources and when we protect our precious commodity, water.

An article in Connections, the external newsletter of the St. Louis Province, Mary Lou Franks presents a study of the global issues about the use and misuse of water. There is a great imbalance of fresh-water distribution.

According to National Geographic's special edition on water, about 90 persent of our planet's water is seawater; 2 percent is locked in icecaps and glaciers, and less than half of one percent of our total water is available for consumption. Our century has lost more than 50 percent of its wetlands that help reduce flooding , purify drinking water and serve as a wildlife refuge.

The tremendous increase in bottled-water consumption raises concerns over adding billions of plastic containers into landfills, unnecessarily depleting natural springs in an effort to market supposedly Ahigher quality@ water and the cost of bottled water compared to tap water. In addition, the annual consumption of bottled water by Americans has reached 12.7 gallons per person. An estimated 25-30 percent of bottled water, including Pepsi's Aquafina, is derived from municipal tap-water sources and not from springs, despite the packages' images of lofty mountain tops.

AIn many parts of the United States, water is so plentiful that few people give much thought to the fact that in other parts of the world there is no source of fresh water. Poverty and politics often play a role in preventing fresh water from reaching the people where they live. A United Nations= brochure asserts that 1.1 billion people lack access to safe water, and that 6,000 children die daily from diseases associated with unsafe water and poor sanitation/hygiene.@

There is a growing trend toward accepting water as a tradable commodity to be bought and sold and profited from within consumer markets. We must stress the importance of water being a gift from God to be shared among Earth's children. We must educate others by writing letters to legislators about the need for conservation efforts, studying global issues about the use and misuse of water and helping others understand and take action on these topics.


(November 2005)