Water water everywhere, nor I any drop to drink – Samuel Tayler Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
This line of poetry plays over and over in my mind as I consider two great news stories this month. Unitarian Universalists in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, are putting their lives and their community back together as flood waters recede after an unprecedented downpour. Over 30,000 people were evacuated and dozens of lives were lost in the calamity. The event has brought up the discussion of climate justice as storms become more violent and displace more people. Hundreds of miles to the north, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and many other Native American nations are protecting the waters of Dakota as they fight the pipeline that would cross sacred lands and waters. While people in Louisiana are on the receiving end of climate change, Native Americans are trying to prevent from more waters from becoming polluted and reduce our energy dependence on oil overall, with chants like “We can’t drink oil, keep it in the soil!”
Like the ancient mariner, our society will only be able to remove the albatross of climate injustice from our necks when we come to respect nature itself. May we think of all the different meanings water has to different peoples this week as we gather together for our annual water ceremony.
Rev. Shawna Foster