Kansas City, Missouri – We turn on the tap and drinkable water comes out. This is a fact so ubiquitous in our society that we don’t frequently think about the global water crises. We take our water so much for granted that we get picky and want to drink bottled water or buy filters to avoid the chlorine or maximize the pH. We also take our water supply for granted. It’s always been there. The rain comes down, goes into the rivers and oceans, we use it, pour it back, it evaporates and comes back down. How, then, can our water supply be endangered? How can we ever run out of water?
Everything in our environment causes some kind of pollution. We can’t avoid it. Even leaves pollute streams. But the planet’s biological filtration system can handle these natural pollutants. But when water from rain and melting snow runs off roofs and roads into our waterways it picks up toxic chemicals, dirt, trash, and disease-carrying organisms. Our waters are vulnerable to pollution from farms, industrial plants and fracking all of which cause contamination and habitat degradation. Hermaphroditic sturgeon have been found here in our Missouri River; they were contaminated with Atrizine, a once common farm herbicide still used in some states.
Water pollution causes a change in the quality of the water, whether it is chemical or biological. Right now, dirty water is the world’s biggest health risk, threatening the quality of life and public health world-wide. In 2003 the United Nations reported 2 million tons of sewage, industrial and agricultural waste, being dumped into our planet’s waters every day. This is equivalent to the weight of the entire human population of 6.8 billion people. The estimated amount of wastewater produced annually is six time more water than exists in all the rivers of the world.
Clean water and sanitation are critical to treat and stop the spread of ebola which has captured recent world attention.
UNICEF reported in 2008 that lack of adequate sanitation, one of the most significant forms of pollution, contaminates waterways worldwide: 2.5 billion people live without improved sanitation. About 1.2 billion people defecate in the open, significantly compromising water quality in nearby streams and causing an extreme health risk. Infectious diseases are reported to be the number one killer of children under five; more people die annually from unsafe water than from all forms of violence, including war (WHO 2002). Unsafe water causes 4 billion cases of diarrhea each annually, resulting in 2.2 million deaths, mostly of children under five: a child dies every 15 seconds from diarrhea.
But we turn on the tap and clean water comes out. How does all this affect us, beyond our humanitarian urges to stop suffering? Does it affect us?
World-wide we are using and polluting the waters faster than either our technology or the planet’s own filtration systems can handle. The aquifers are drying up. The oceans are full of petroleum in one form or another. Toxins are appearing at all levels of the food chain. It is so overwhelming to think about that often we just don’t. And our lack of input not only doesn’t help, it actually fuels the problem.
So how can we help?
There are many small ways we can contribute to slowing the pollution problem. We can recycle. We can at least minimize, if not eliminate, use of chemicals in our everyday lives. Look for the least toxic means of solving your problems, whether they be stains or weeds. Plant rain gardens to slow runoff and allow more time for filtration of the water you use in your yard for gardens and recreation. Make sure trash goes in trash bins when you are in parks and other public areas.
You can also participate in local cleanup events. Missouri River Relief and Healthy River Partners both operate in our local area to help clean up and preserve our waters. A cleanup for the Missouri River is operated the first weekend of October every year at either Kaw Point or La Benite in Sugar Creek. It’s a fun time. Participants are teamed up in boats and dropped off on the shoreline with trash bags where they pick up trash for around two hours. The trash bags are piled on the shore and picked up the following day. Many tons of trash are cleaned up each year during these events.
All of these efforts will help slow the tide of pollution. But what can we do for our waters that are already suffering? How do they get cleaned up? Technology for filtration does exist, but it can barely provide cleaned up water for the ‘developed’ world in which we participate. And we’ve already far exceeded the capacity of Mother Earth to filter her own waters. Is there a way to heal our waters?
The work of Dr. Masaru Emoto offers a glimmer of hope. We can pray. Dr. Emoto, researcher and author of many books including The Hidden Messages of Water, Love Thyself and Messages from Water and the Universe, has demonstrated the intelligence of water and its response to intention, image and sound. In one well known experiment, Dr. Emoto had Buddhist monks pray over polluted water from Fujiwara Dam. The water was flash frozen and photographed before and after the prayer with astounding results. The polluted water had failed to create a crystal prior to the prayer; after the prayers, the water formed a beautiful perfect crystal.
Prayer may be our most potent tool for the healing of our waters. For many years now groups have formed for World Water Day, a day designated each spring by the United Nations. The UN formulates a theme and presents research on the waters of the planet each year. Other groups, many indigenous, have started gathering to pray on the shores of our oceans, seas, lakes and rivers.
Here in the Kansas City area, Harmony Energetics and Sacred Earth Arts are offering us a chance to gather on the shores of the Missouri River to join these global efforts. This spring the event will occur on March 21st at La Bentire Park in Sugar Creek (just of 291 Highway north of Independence). “Our river eventually empties into the Gulf of Mexica and can carry our healing intentions around the globe,” explains Linda VanBibber, owner of Harmony Energetics. “We can make a difference in the global water crisis by joining our loving intentions here in the Kansas City area”.
The West African spirit of the river, Oshun, will also be honored at the event. Honoring the spirits of our planet as indigenous people have always done makes us more mindful of the physical realities as well. These traditions provide a vast energetic resource for healing. Participants will be encouraged to call upon their own spiritual traditions for healing of the waters. “The important thing is to join our prayers,” says VanBibber.
Oshun is also the patron of the local percussion and dance ensemble Women of the Drum, founded by Regina Compernolle, owner of Sacred Earth Arts. “Oshun is also the deity of love and attraction,” says Regina. “She flows with great power, taking away what is no longer needed and bringing what we do need. And she needs us.” Members of Women of the Drum are environmentally conscious honoring Nature with dance and song.
Participants are encouraged to bring drums, rattles or other sound healing instruments to the event. But healing intentions and love of the water is all that is required. A healing circle using voice to charge waters from the river which will be the focus. If the weather is nice, a pot-luck picnic can be shared. This event will be held annually near the springs and fall equinoxes.
Call 816-833-1129 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.