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Not just a human right - Water is a life necessity

The trees of Tennessee need water
The trees of Tennessee need water
Catherine Hill

Water is not just a human right – it is a NECESSITY FOR ALL LIFE. Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one getting this point. The headlines are not encouraging. “In one month, The Chesapeake Bay’s ‘most critical pollution issue’ could be unsolvable.” “West Virginia wants $2 Million from company that caused historic chemical spill.” “Water crisis can only be averted if we return to an Indigenous Respect for the earth’s bounty.” “British Columbia declares a local state of emergency after massive mine waste spill”. "7 things you need to know about the toxin that’s poisoned Ohio’s drinking water.”

Are people really crazy? California has a serious drought, and Nestle is bottling the water needed for agriculture, human needs, and firefighting. Almost every day we find a news story about how someone’s water is undrinkable or can be set on fire because of some pollution problem. Often, this problem is an ’oops’ from a giant corporation that swore its operations were safe. You have to take them to court to get any remediation or clean-up. Only one prison sentence seems to be happening – 28 months for 64-year-old Benedict Lupo, who ordered his employees to dump fracking waste into Ohio’s Mahoning River 33 TIMES.

Humans and animals have always fouled clean, natural water – but for the first time we now have the technology to use it up or so foul it with chemicals that it can never be used again for human purposes. What are we thinking about?

I’ve illustrated this article with a picture I took a few days ago in the suburbs of East Nashville. Tennessee is a well-watered state and has been blessed by the presence of the TVA. How else could we have such lush greenery in our neighborhoods? How else could we sustain the lives of our animal companions, much less our own? How else could we fight the fires that threaten any settled community? How often must we proclaim “Water is not a commodity”?