Challenges of change

We are becoming more and more aware of how our climate is changing, sometimes in what we read and hear about places far away from us, sometimes by weather events closer to hand. Last year, one of my writing challenges was about change, and about the future; this is what I wrote:

In one of my writing groups the rather broad topic of what I would like to see achieved in my lifetime has me puzzling over what to write. I’d like to see a world where there is no social injustice, where everyone has the same chances and opportunities in life no matter where they start from and if they need support to achieve that then support should be freely and generously given. I’d like to see no hunger, all children have free education and that education should continue as long as they want or need even when they are no longer children. As for saving our world so that all can enjoy its benefits and thrive with its riches, and keeping all creatures and environments safe, that surely is what everyone would want.

It’s an impossibly big topic, and a list would be endless. Does the topic perhaps mean what I would like to see myself achieving? That too is endless! Thinking though of what I actually believe to be the topic, what one thing in the world would I like to see achieved in my lifetime. Water, that’s what I think, water. I wish for everyone to have access to clean, safe water, enough to drink, to cook with, to wash themselves and their clothes and keep their possessions and their homes clean; enough to water their crops and their animals, enough for every purpose in human life. I’d like water once again to be used for mass transport, not just across seas and oceans, but along rivers and canals. I’d like water to be used for hydro-electricity, to be used in millions of industries and then properly cleaned and purified and returned to nature.

The other side of water and its connection to humans is when it’s not benign; floods, flooding, tidal surges – the opposite side of the water coin is not sufficient but too much. Too little water causes great suffering, communities driven from their homelands to find water for themselves and their animals; people are driven to leave drought stricken areas and becoming refugees from and migrants. Too much water can destroy lives, livelihoods, infrastructure and agriculture. Too much water can cause catastrophic floods and flooding, washing away soil as well as vegetation, and animal and human life.

Water can be used as a weapon, breaching dams to engulf communities, creating dams to dehydrate an enemy’s country. Water can be used and misused; it can become a liquid dustbin for waste, sewerage, rubbish, and industrial effluent,

Proper water management, not only gives clean safe water for all, but enhances the environment and provides for all nature, as well as humans, for their physical and spiritual needs and well-being, and the pure enjoyment that water can bring – swimming, boating, walking beside it, and just stopping, gazing and contemplating it.

Look here to find out more about what the lack of water does, and what the gift of water does:

I’ve quoted this before, but here it is again, from The Wind in the Willows:

“I beg your pardon,” said the Mole, pulling himself together with an effort. “You must think me very rude; but all this is so new to me. So—this—is—a—River!”

“The River,” corrected the Rat.

“And you really live by the river? What a jolly life!”

“By it and with it and on it and in it,” said the Rat. “It’s brother and sister to me, and aunts, and company, and food and drink, and (naturally) washing. It’s my world, and I don’t want any other. What it hasn’t got is not worth having, and what it doesn’t know is not worth knowing. Lord! The times we’ve had together! Whether in winter or summer, spring or autumn, it’s always got its fun and its excitements. When the floods are on in February, and my cellars and basement are brimming with drink that’s no good to me, and the brown water runs by my best bedroom window; or again when it all drops away and shows patches of mud that smells like plum-cake, and the rushes and weed clog the channels, and I can potter about dry shod over most of the bed of it and find fresh food to eat, and things careless people have dropped out of boats!”

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