Agua English

Think from the point of view of water

Pablo Solón

[Español] Look at life from the perspective of water. Assume that human beings are essentially water. Realize that three-quarters of our brain is made up of water. Feel the water in the blood running through our veins. Discover that rather then returning to dust we will return to water at our hour of parting. Imagine the journey of those little molecules that will leave our body to travel through the three states of water. Our being is made up of water that evaporates into the sky, becomes snow, settles on a glacier, and flows towards the ocean until it feels the rays of the sun. To be part of the whole in the water cycle again.

On World Water Day we emphasize the importance of water for human beings. We stress that the human right to water was not recognized until  62 years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was passed in 1948. We remember that the Cochabamba water war and the Bolivians played an important role in the recognition of this human right by the United Nations in 2010[1]. We are determined to avoid water from becoming the blue gold of the future, and we reaffirm that this vital element for life cannot be privatized or commercialized. These are true and noble expressions of our commitment, but still, are we really thinking from the point of view of water?

What about the rights of water, rivers, glaciers, lakes, oceans and watersheds? Do we consciously remember that rivers should have the right to flow freely without being obstructed by mega dams or contaminated by mining activities that poison the biodiversity that runs through their veins? Do we remember that the fire that devastates the forests also melts the glaciers when its dark soot falls on the snow-white surface? How moved are we by the death of a glacier that is one of the greatest sources of memory on planet Earth? Could it be that we remember that glaciers are archives of history that store information from millions of years?

Humanity has become extremely anthropocentric. The calendar is marked with hundreds of international days to remember Nature. Wetlands, snow, wildlife, forests, oceans, birds, bees, condors… all have their international day. However, when reminders appear lost in the back pages of a newspaper, almost always the main argument is to show how nature serves us humans. Very few are the speeches that emphasize the perspective of other beings. Hardly anyone in power proposes a minute of silence for the lost snows of Mount Chacaltaya or for the Aral Sea, which disappeared from Central Asia because to the irrationality of productivism and the titanic diversion canals of the former Soviet Union. The North Pole  is being butchered by the horses of global warming but hardly anyone thinks from the point of view of this Tupaj Katari of Nature.

Earth is the blue planet. Almost 71% of its surface is covered with Water. However, less than 3% of the planet’s water is fresh water while 97% is salt water. And of this tiny portion of fresh water, more than two-thirds are found at the poles and in the glaciers of the snow-capped mountains. As the north pole melts, fresh water pours into the oceans, affecting their composition and currents. Climate change, about which so much is said and little is done, also causes acidification of fresh waters. The life cycle of water is being affected by human activities with unpredictable consequences for the Earth’s systems. The search for water on Mars and other planets has more headlines than the growing tragedy of water on Earth.

The latest report of the Secretary General of the United Nations on Harmony with Nature[2]– an agenda item created at the urging of Bolivia[3]– proposes an Earth Assembly to reflect on the world and life from a non-anthropocentric perspective or rather from an eco-centric perspective. The proposal is key. For example, 17 sustainable development goals have been built at the UN from the perspective of human beings. Everyone cares about the “sustainable use” of natural resources, no one talks about sustainability from the perspective of nature, water, forests, pangolins or condors. How can “sustainability” be achieved if what prevails is the human perspective and worse still that of a political and economic elite?

We are moving towards the sixth extinction of life on Earth and we must stop seeing the world from our human navels. It is time to start thinking about life from the water, from nature, from the Earth community as a whole.


[1] The human right to water and sanitation, Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 28 July 2010, (A/RES/64/292).

[2] Paragraph 87, Harmony with Nature, Report of the Secretary-General, 28 July 2020 (A/75/266).

[3] Harmony with Nature, Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 21 December 2009 (A/RES/64/196).

2 comments on “Think from the point of view of water

  1. Pingback: Pensar desde el agua – Fundación Solón

  2. Pingback: Pensa dal punto di vista dell’acqua – Systemic Alternatives

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