standing Letters

Honoring water for World Water Day on March 22, I scoured the March 24 issue of The Sun but could find no link to H2O. I frustratingly closed the paper only to see, staring at me on the cover, “River Reflections,” trees, shrubbery and spring-a-comin’. Like water itself, where you sometimes can’t see the forest through the trees, water’s so ubiquitously essential to all existence that it’s a common but unacceptable mistake to treat it as a given in this protect-the-things-you-love world, which is the only one we’ve got, there’s no PLANet B. No water, no life, as Earth circulates in a Milky Way of 1 billion stars, all jealous of our life-enabling, blessed water. Roughly 60% of the human body and 71% of our beloved Earth’s surface is water, sustaining life everywhere and initially, before electricity, providing the power that gave rise to the industrial revolution and water-endowed Rhode Island’s leading manufacturing status in our country’s beginnings.

Much has changed since those days, but clean water’s top-rung priority can and never will change, which compels everyone to ask themselves: What am I doing to prioritize water?

We all have our favorite water story and water quote: “The wars of the 20th century were fought over oil, the wars of the 21st century will be fought over water” is mine, perhaps an aggregate of hundreds of similar quotes that all recognize water’s fundamental role in agriculture, industry, recreation,etc. Increasingly in our climate-stressed world, too much of it can flood you out, too little can drought you out, so getting water right can be a matter of life and death.

Enter the currently proposed Water Act, a massive federal injection of dollars to fix our aging water infrastructure that’s given rise to massive water privatization, which misguidedly asks you to pay top dollar for this basic human right. If clean water is not a human right, then what is? And you don’t have to live in water-scarred Flint or Texas to recognize the injustice. Similarly, you don’t have to live in Rhode Island where water gives us our name (no water,no island) and our state motto, the Ocean State (no water,no ocean) to recognize water’s importance and support passage of the Water Act. Yes, Biden’s spending dollars like they’re going out of style, but the pandemic has taken north of 500,000 Americans out of style as our infrastructure continues to crumble, joining the going-out-of-style parade. We’ve fractured our proverbial toe kicking the can down the road for too long.which explains the appeal of marjuana legalization, since it provides revenue for these necessary expenditures. Priorities rule in this no-good-choices, lesser-of-two-evils position, always prioritizing honesty over false promises with Republicans’ repeal-and-replace Obamacare hypocritical failure fresh in everyone’s mind. If anything on Earth deserves priority, it’s water, with the current Water Act deserving passage as it reflects water’s role as the essential ingredient to all life everywhere. Just as Lincoln’s Gettysburg brilliance recognized that his words were no match for the soldier’s heroism exhibited on the consecrated battlefield, this admission can never approach clean water’s importance, but something is always better than nothing here in the real world. Weighing in at 8 pounds a gallon, water just might be the champion of the world!

Jay Lustgarten

Westerly

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