My Water Creed- Alyce!

How to sum up all of the complex nuances of my beliefs and experiences in a single post?  Where to start? Well, I guess let’s start at the beginning, the source, the pond scum of my own personal evolution, if you will.. I grew up in a little town called Nazareth, in eastern Pennsylvania. My life was like that of many others in that suburban, lower-middle

Not an uncommon sight around my household growing up...

working class region. Days were spent in school, nights playing in the yard or local woods with my sister and neighbors, and every Sunday we went to church. It was pretty much your standard Norman Rockwell kind of stuff. This was a very water-rich, very humble and very reluctant to change or anything radical- a sort of living page of history. My worldview was such that I believed that water was just sort of an infallible resource. It was always there, anyway. I used to play in sprinklers, take swimming lessons, and play with water balloons

A creek I would have thought to be the perfect playground!

with my sister and friends. Most notably, I spent a disproportionate amount of time in creeks when I was growing up, a love I developed from my Pappy the expert outdoorsman. It was a blast! Now I realize, it was sort of an ill-informed way to grow up. No one ever mentioned that the creeks that I spent probably whole weeks of my childhood in were dumping grounds for raw sewerage, or the sites of pesticide runoff. I always thought that water just kind of was untouchable and that unless you could see the pollution, it wasn’t there. (Think plastic bottles and soda cans). Water, to my small town friends and me anyway, was equal parts utility and recreation- something to use to our advantage.  If I needed a drink, I just went to the spigot. If I needed a shower, I just got in the tub. Clean, cheap water was always available to me, so I never really felt like it was really a concern for anyone. I used to believe the world was some kind of weird, disjointed collage of different lands and places. I saw pictures in magazines that corroborated this evidence. This view allowed for me to harbor my belief of the infallibility of water. To me, the world could fall neatly into two categories: the human world, and everywhere else. The first and most recent shift in my worldview happened when I started coming to Ithaca College, and specifically taking the class “Environmental Sentinels” with Jed Jordan and Tim Drake. This class taught me about how “nature” is not something that is just a forest in an issue of National

A Sentinels Class in action!

Geographic, or some destination. I believe “Nature” is everywhere, everyone and everything. This laid the foundation for my emerging worldview that would not center around a divide between the natural world and humans, but rather connectivity between all matter on earth. This new realization, and the newly-developed “holistic” view of the world that accompanied it helped to spark my interest in the environment and inspired to learn more about the rest of the wide world that we all live in. Still, I did not have a particular interest in studying water. And maybe that’s because I did really see a need to. Hell, I lived in Pennsylvania and now upstate New York, and if anything, I’d always gotten too much rain. Why would I look into a “problem” I didn’t know existed. It wasn’t until I started to get into this water management class that I began to really see the importance of water. At the beginning of this class, I sort of still held this notion about water. I still regularly drank from disposable water bottles. I still sort of believed that water is just a trip to the faucet away, and that it went “away”, when you were done using it. Looking back on this, that seems so silly. After all to my now more-educated self, water is the most important thing on this earth, because without it, we have nothing, and we are nothing, because life COULD NOT EXIST. I religiously drink from reusable water bottles, and I find myself cutting my showers, handwashing, toilet flushing and laundry washing down by immensely. This class has helped me develop a serious sense of urgency and importance when it comes to the idea of water sustainability. How could I have not seen it before? It all just makes SO MUCH SENSE.  Water is this mysterious and always-astounding source of life and hope and refreshment that I can no longer take for granted. This class allows me to appreciate water for all of its forms- not just the aesthetic or utility aspects of it- but for its intrinsic and essential value to this planet and thus, my life. How does this developing new waterview affect my worldview? I believe that in this earth, we only have now. It is what we should focus on, because the future is so uncertain, and the past is now another land. Past and future are merely fleeting glimpses and traces of what we do have- and that is the present. That’s why I believe the present is the only thing worth fighting for, because that is what we have and will always have- literally, until the day we die. Although I believe in the present, I don’t really entertain a material worldview. I don’t really believe in any religion or afterlife- but that doesn’t mean that I’m not spiritual. I believe in spirituality- but probably  not in what most would define as the traditional sense. I believe that spirituality is something not in books or in seminaries or in a church. It is also not some greater goal we seek to achieve. Spirituality to me is the bond of human to his or her environment. My need

Human Spirit

for inspiration is met in this belief. The bond of man to his world- both the living and nonliving is the true measure of spirituality. I don’t necessarily mean the bond between me and a tree, although that is part of it. I classify the environment as well, EVERYTHING. That’s right- I believe the environment can be anything from the forests of Siberia to your body to your relationships with people and the world. EVERYTHING IS INTERCONNECTED, because we are made of essentially the same stuffs. We are of carbon, nitrogen, ash and most importantly, water. I believe that man has what he has and knows what he knows. Happiness and enlightenment are attainable within this lifetime.  I believe they are states of mind moreso than achievements. My need for security is met when I remember that happiness is a choice,and not so much a situation. You can always choose to be happy, much like you can choose anything else in this lifetime. It starts with a smile. I believe that even if you were in the most dire of situations, I mean the truly most God-awful straits, you can be happy. God, enlightenment, and thus freedom are found in everyday moments that we too often take for granted. From one of my favorite Broadway shows AIDA, I always refer back to this quote; “Nothing is an accident. We are free to have it all. We are what we want to be- it’s in ourselves to rise or fall.” This resonates with me as sort of an inspiration to stick to my beliefs, even when this is difficult- especially in the case of water use. SO how does this seemingly nebulous array of factoids about myself and my ever-changing , and ever-flowing (much like water!) worldview relate to a water creed? Several key factors helped me to shape my current water creed. This class has helped me to answer the question “Where is away?” The solution is tricky- nowhere! There is no away. Once I made this connection about (what else?) connectivity between our habits and the quality

Let's Keep Water "Green"!

of water, and thus the quality of life for us and thus the rest of life on earth, things began to change. I am now very interested in permaculture and agriculture. I entertain a notion of water as a right that all must cherish and share. It is not a commodity, but a necessity. Never before have I held such a high regard for cooperation as I do now as I do for an issue such as this- water access and quality. I will do my part to minimize the water I use (even when things like modern plumbing and low-efficiency washers make this sort of thing difficult). I will maintain shorter showers and spend less time doing laundry.  I know that living in a dorm puts me at sort of a disadvantage sustainability-wise, but it also opens a lot of doors for creativity and collaboration with my peers. I have learned to focus more on design and creativity than the negative. I have learned to know the facts, but then take a part in these issues to help develop more sustainable solutions. Above all, since taking this class, I am inspired to really make a difference in this world and to keep learning about the world, and most importantly- water.

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One response to “My Water Creed- Alyce!

  1. I’m in the sentinels picture!! 🙂

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