At the General Chapter of 2012 the School Sisters of Notre Dame made a commitment “to live more simply and sustainably with one another and with all of creation.”
The Atlantic-Midwest Province responded with four concrete commitments. One of them is to advocate for universal access to clean water.
Although 70-75 percent of planet Earth’s surface is water, less than 2 percent is suitable for consumption. Given that 7.5 billion human beings require access to clean water every day, keeping water safe, as well as accessible, is a necessary requirement for life on our planet.
The reality: The use and abuse of our planet’s oceans, rivers, lakes, and streams require constant vigilance and a variety of interventions. Human as well as industrial pollution and exploitation, coupled with the increasing demand for bottled water, seriously undermine water’s health and availability. Global extractive industries which include mining for minerals, oil, and natural gas contaminate billions of gallons of water daily. Much of this water is not reusable and represents the scale and speed of water loss on earth today.
Water: Global Warming and Climate Change
Brought about by excessive carbon, methane, nitrous oxide, and other harmful gases in the atmosphere, the rise in global temperatures and climate change is negatively impacting the life systems of planet Earth. These gases are produced by human activity and are already leading to dramatic changes in the planets water systems and supply. The global scale of water pollution and drought is dramatic and deadly presenting grave concerns for human health and food supply. As temperatures rise, oceans are manifesting signs of acidification. Unhealthy oceans negatively impact the quality sea life and therefore the supply of fish for human consumption. The rise in global temperatures is melting sea ice and, if this continues at its present rate, the rise of sea levels will endanger and displace millions of people living on coastal areas around the world. The pollution of the oceans has begun to impact sea life and the availability of safe seafood.
Water is a life-sustaining necessity that requires our respect, protection, and advocacy in order to maintain its critical role as source and sustainer of all life. Learn more from the United Nations.
For more information about our commitment to water:
For the text of Laudato Si click here
For a summary of Laudato Si click here
What you can do:
- Consider how your food impacts water use
- Assess your personal water use
- Watch "The Story of Bottled Water"
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