December 6, 2020

I Stand for Water

by christopherabdo

I stand for water for all, obtained simply, without government or corporate control or oversight, gathered from the earth and the sky, with care and love for all living things.

If I want pure drinking water, it's not actually up to me whether I can have that. I'm dependent on a company that takes water from somewhere else and brings it to me, for a fee, watching how much I use and decided how many toxins will be in that water.  I also have no real say in all the things they may do to that water, what they do to others in the process of getting that water, etc.

 I might, if I get hundreds of thousands of people to join me and I go through an all-out campaign/fight, be able to make some small change in how that water gets to me...eventually. 

Doesn't something rub you the wrong way about that? Now if I wanted to gather water, or know how to make water safe for drinking...I would need to take on a research project to figure that out. So our basic education system hasn't actually included that most basic of basic to find and drink safe water. So many of us are deeply uneducated and helplessly matter how many degrees we may have. 

I live in an apartment too. So I would really have to struggle to figure out how I would gather rainwater for myself, to drink...and its not just that I would have to check with my neighbors to see if they are okay with my rainwater system... but if the corporation that controls what I can do on their land would allow me to do the most basic act of self-care and survival...having water to drink.

It turns out, that food is also this way, and my shelter. 

What would it cost me to have choice in all of this? Well here in Austin, probably around $400,000. You would not only need to own some land/house, but you would also need resources to construct your own way to harvest water...because houses don't come pre-built with rainwater harvesting systems (shouldn't that be a no-brainer?). 

I say this, as an incredibly privileged person. A homeless person, the person in most need, likely also never had the most basic education to survive. If you were homeless, do you even know where to start to find clean, safe drinking water? 

So my life, is completely and totally dependent on a government and companies that I don't trust...and until or unless I am blessed with resources in the form of finances, others giving me land or trading goods...I don't see a way out any time soon. 

No, I wouldn't say I'm free. I feel free, and that's the crux of it. It looks like freedom on the outside, but look far enough in and you realize...its not a fair trade. 

I used to be very angry about this. Furious. Then I realized where is this anger taking me? What is this anger actually doing for me? What good does it do to stand against all these things? 

It's easy to stand against, to make an enemy. It's much harder, but better, to stand FOR something. 

So, instead of standing against "the system", I'm going to stand for the freedom for all people to have direct control over their water. What if everyone had access to rainwater harvesting systems, had education to connect to all the ways we could have water and by proxy end up doing right by others and the planet in the process? That's real freedom. Water can be free. I want my water to be free, forever,  retrieved in a way that does no harm to others and doesn't require massive corporate and government oversight, with enough to give to others. 

There are people who have done this. They have radically transformed their neighborhoods in surprising and lasting ways. I'm so excited to share those stories in future articles. 

Do I think that we should take down this whole system that brings us water right now? No, because its not about getting rid of a system its about not being so dependent on the system. I have no problem if my spouse brings me water, I just don't want to be totally dependent on my spouse spoon-feeding me water or else I have no water at all. 

So what can I do? Well I'll be researching how to make a very simple rainwater harvesting system with a 55-gallon container at my community garden plot. I'll be looking at how indigenous societies harvested the rain and seeing how I might change that. 

So there is a gap between the reality I have, and the reality I want. This is what Russ Harris would refer to as the reality gap. In his book, "The Reality Slap", he talks about situations like this...and how to make peace with the current situation that you can't change right now, while also standing for what you believe in. 

What do you in situations like this? It will be some time before this reality that I live in, will change. It will likely be some time before I'm no longer dependent on water that was retrieved in a way that doesn't align with my values and isn't actually practical for the long term health and well-being of our people or planet. 

So I've been angry, I've been sad, I've tried to problem-solve, tried to ignore this reality, gotten totally taken over in this reality to where I couldn't actually be in my life and enjoy all the beauty and gifts I have in my life, and now I'm here: 

I'm going to stand for water. To do what I can, where I'm at, with what I have, to stand for water. 

I stand for water for all, obtained simply, without government or corporate control or oversight, gathered from the earth and the sky, with care and love for all living things.

This what I can do now, to stand for water for all: 

I can write blog posts, sharing stories of others who have made a difference (super excited about these coming up!) 

I can show how to make the most use of the government-water by supporting as much life as you can. 

I can conserve water by making self-watering systems. 

I can learn how to gather water on my garden plot making it safe for drinking. 

I can invite you to help me set up a rainwater barrel, in whatever way you can. 

I can build my income so I can have land, so I can do this most basic thing. 

I can reach out and say "is there anyone out there who would like to make this reality more possible?" 

I can bring love and understanding to everyone involved within this system of water, while also holding steadfast to change. 


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