Water

Statement on Water by a Coalition of Religions

As a coalition of believers from nine faith traditions we state that the misuse of water by Australians is a grave abuse. We are grateful to the people helping us to change our ways. However, we call on all levels of governments to immediately implement more radical solutions to the water crisis in urban and rural areas, and we call on the members of all religions to support these solutions as a moral and spiritual issue.

We believe that water belongs to the earth and to all living things, and that an adequate supply of clean water is a basic human right. We believe that water is best protected in natural watersheds for this and future generations. We support recycling and condemn the excessive harvesting of water from rivers and ground-water, and its waste on water hungry crops, in low-yield production and for urban cosmetics.

We call on political leaders at all levels of government to allocate more funding for research into the ecologically sustainable use of water in Australia and enact integrated legislation to immediately implement major research findings.

Further, in Australia’s relations with neighbouring countries and commitment to international agreements we call on the Federal government to put environmental factors at the forefront of decision making. Aid directed to ecologically sustainable and appropriate development is a pre-requisite for regional stability.

As people of religious conviction, beginning with the Aboriginal experience of belonging to this land, we have various ways of discerning the spiritual quality of the earth. We acknowledge that the natural world is our home so that our very lives, happiness and sense of meaning are grounded in it. Despoiling the world radically lessens life, physical and spiritual, and impoverishes our nation, Australia.

We call on the communities of all religions in Australia to promote among their own members a respectful use of water in both rural and urban settings. We urge them to publicly join in campaigns for a wise use of the gift of water.

Statement issued 14 June 2004 at a Faith and Ecology Forum (FEN) on The Water of Life, Strathfield, Sydney, sponsored by the Columban Centre for Peace Ecology and Justice. Participants included lay people and leaders from Aboriginal, Anglican, Buddhist, Catholic, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish, Orthodox and Uniting Church religious traditions.