B025 Water as a Human Right

Original version

Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church urges the Church to learn about the watersheds in which our congregations and institutions are located; and be it further

Resolved, That the Episcopal Church recognize the public trust that protects the waters and community uses in the watersheds of the communities and regions that make up the Church; and be it further

Resolved, That the Episcopal Church recognize water and sanitation as human rights and water as a commons; and be it further

Resolved, That the Episcopal Church phase out and eventually ban, by 2021 the sale or distribution of bottled water in Church-related facilities and at Church events; and be it further

Resolved, That the Episcopal Church promotes and advocates for publicly financed, owned, and operated safe water and wastewater infrastructure and services.

Explanation

Water is a potent symbol in the Bible. The waters of the oceans represent immense power and chaotic forces. On the other hand, fresh water is life. We may bring to mind both the great prophets, Isaiah and Ezekiel used the images of fresh water springing up in the desert as way to talk of God’s providence and grace. Increasingly, we can feel the truth of the prophets’ insights as we witness the distressing lack of access to fresh, clean water today. According to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, currently 780 million people do not have access to clean water.

At this point in history, with an unprecedented human population of over seven billion, and with agricultural practices, urbanization, and water privatization all making potable water scare across wide regions of the world, we now understand that drinkable, safe water must be regarded as a basic human right.

The privatization of water complicates and adds to the difficulty of access to clean water, and has also added to the stunning accumulation of discarded plastic, through the selling of bottled water. In 2014, 100.7 billion beverages in plastic bottles were sold in the United States alone, according to the Container Recycling Institute.

This resolution helps the Episcopal Church become aware of the watersheds in which our worshipping communities and institutions are located, commits us to advocacy for the public ownership and management of water resources, and commits us to phasing out and eventually ending the use of plastic bottled water in the Church.


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