By Sister Karen Donahue
This is part of an occasional blog series introducing each new season during the year-long Mercy Earth Challenge.
Water is absolutely essential for all life. In the very first lines of Genesis, we read that a mighty wind swept over the waters. (Genesis 1:2) Water is sacramental. Yet it is something we tend to take for granted.
Today, however, water is under assault. Millions of people lack access to clean drinking water and to clean water to wash their hands amidst a pandemic. Climate change is bringing drought to many areas, disrupting agriculture and food production, while other regions experience severe flooding. Dams built to generate electricity often divert water and deprive local populations of the water they need for their crops. Beverage companies extract huge quantities of water from springs and underground aquifers, leaving little or none for local farmers. Water has also become a commodity sold for profit rather than recognized as a basic human need.
Please consider joining the Sisters of Mercy in exploring water as sacred gift, in this second installment of our yearlong Mercy Earth Challenge. The Challenge began with Earth Day, followed by five weeks of deepening our understanding of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’.
During this month, we are exploring various aspects of water:
- Do I recognize water as a gift?
- How conscious am I of my consumption of water, not only directly but also the amount of water used in the production of things I purchase?
- What is the water situation in my area?
- What am I doing to conserve water?
- What am I doing to confront the privatization of water?
In summing up the world water situation, Pope Francis writes:
Greater scarcity of water will lead to an increase in the cost of food and the various products which depend on its use. Some studies warn that an acute water shortage may occur within a few decades unless urgent action is taken. The environmental repercussions could affect billions of people; it is also conceivable that the control of water by large multinational businesses may become a major source of conflict in this century.” (Laudato Si’ #31)