Tuesday, October 22, 2013

It All Comes Down To Hubris

In writing about water accessibility, scarcity and quality it is very easy to get caught up in statistics. Statistics can also influence the amount of urgency one places on a particular problem. However, I think that is something we need to be careful of when looking at the global water crisis as a whole. Where it concerns water, even one person going without the essential amount necessary for life is too many. Just one child dying of a waterborne disease is too many. Just one waterway overcome with poisons is too many. However, how we quantify these amounts comes down to one thing: hubris. The thinking that we control all water and that it is then here for our use and our abuse. The thinking that money can buy anything and that as long as you have it nothing else is ever really that bad. That the one child who died of a waterborne disease or of famine due to lack of food due to drought because of our hubris is an acceptable amount.

There is no acceptable amount.

I have been writing on this topic for a few years here and reporting on all of the crises we face regarding water globally. The recent Blog Action Day here showcased how water is a human right for all. There are entries here on drought, floods, fracking, Fukushima, climate change, agriculture, dams, accessibility, sanitation, privatization and scarcity. There are also entries on ways we can work to conserve this precious resource. However, once again it comes down to hubris. To placing that dollar sign on it. To putting a price and a statistic on it so we don't have to feel guilty about that one child or that one person who died because of it.

I am writing this because I am at a crossroads in my thinking about humanity as a whole. I have always tried to have hope for the future and the power of the human spirit to see beyond the dollar signs and the hubris. I have to be honest and state I don't feel that as much anymore because I see the crises of water and climate are so many times just made into PR slogans now where the urgency is downplayed in order to sell it for the profit of others.

Will we ever get down to being truly serious about where we are headed as a species and really do something about it? As an example, I no longer support UN climate meetings anymore specifically because they are mostly PR and accomplish nothing. The next UN COP conference in Warsaw this November looks to be like all the rest where deadlines are set without realizing the true reality of the condition of our planet. The UN doesn't see ratification of anything meaningful until 2020... Planetary emergency? You would never know it. All of the delegates get to fly on the Concorde to Paris next year however to try to make us think they will actually be able to do something concrete- as we pass the tipping point. It seems like we do a lot of "talking" and a minimum of doing... just enough to not make real progress while keeping the status quo in place.

While people go without potable accessible water, sanitation, nutrition and hope in our world as the effects of climate change become more prevalent all many organizations think about now is using PR and pretty faces to sell a crisis to make profit from it without us seeing any real action. Is the higher consciousness we truly need to put that all aside and really care about this and DO something we can really see into the future too far beyond our grasp because of the allure of money on all sides and our hubris? How many more years of meetings, talks, special events and hangouts will it take?

Seriously, what has to happen to collectively wake us up and mobilize us? I see some signs but not enough and not fast enough to overtake the effects of our hubris. Just the fact that we now have an epoch named after us- the Anthropocene brings that point home. We will not move forward as a species nor solve these crises that threaten our existence until we can move from hubris to humility.

I will keep hoping for that. Perhaps nature will have the final word in perpetuating that shift.

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