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Eco-Justice Resolutions

Stewardship of Water

This resolution was passed in February 1, 2003 by the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina
 


Resolved:
That the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, including member congregations and communicants, regard water resources as precious and recognize that the right use of water is an explicit means to show love for one’s neighbor since water connects people and all creatures throughout the global community; and be it further 

Resolved:
That member congregations of the Diocese of North Carolina become active stewards of their water resources through conservation efforts including consumption reduction; through examination of water discharge such that contaminated water does not improperly leave church grounds; and through the creation of environmental programs for stewardship of water and the whole of Creation and for the education of congregants in regard to good and faithful stewardship of Earth’s resources; and be it further

Resolved:
That member congregations and communicants undertake one or more of the following four stewardship steps:
1. When and where possible, install water saving devices such as low-flow commodes and aspirators on sink faucets to conserve water.
2. Replant parish campuses and home gardens with plants and trees that are drought tolerant and have low requirements for water.  It is also advised that plants and trees native to the local region be planted as these will have the capacity to survive local climatic conditions.
3. When and where possible, devise drainage systems that allow rainwater to flow from gutters and drainpipes to spread onto lawn and landscaped areas of parish campus and in home gardens, thereby reducing water lost to sewer systems.
4. Pave new or repave existing parking lots with materials that are pervious so that water penetrates and is sequestered in soil beneath parking area.  This will reduce opportunity for automotive oil and other automotive fluids to be washed downstream during rain events.


Background:

Water was blessed by the Holy Spirit at Creation and it serves as the source of life as all life is composed in part of water and requires water to live.  Water also plays an integral role in Holy Scripture and is a key element in the history of the chosen people’s encounter with God.  We are called to care for the whole of Creation as spoken in the Genesis account of Creation, and through the Great Commandments.  We love God and love our neighbor by exhibiting right use and reverence for water and the whole of Creation.
 
Water is Earth’s most precious resource.   The first organisms originated in water and all organisms require water in order to live.  Unfortunately, despite the fact that three-fourths of the Earth is covered by water, most water is unavailable for use by most organisms including people.  The volume of potable water, i.e., water fit to drink, is an extremely small fraction of Earth’s total water volume.  As North Carolinians have experienced during the last few years, water can become scarce due to drought resulting from alterations in climatic conditions.  Human activities have reduced this quantity even further.  Through over-consumption and waste (The United States was recently ranked as the number one nation in water waste) and through contamination of groundwater and waterways, available potable water supplies dwindle each day.  Most of the under-developed nations lack access to adequate supplies of drinking water, due to scarce water sources and due to contamination of the water supply by the presence of deleterious aquatic microbes and through the activities of human commerce, either agriculture or industry.  This problem is not confined to impoverished nations but also affects the United States.  People in a number of cities and in rural areas have limited access to potable water.  Despite the passage of the Clean Water Act in the early 1970’s which has helped to improve water quality in some places, water quality in many states has deteriorated.  For example, persons living in eastern North Carolina are increasingly finding it difficult to tap groundwater that has not been contaminated with toxic by-products of industrial-scale hog rearing.  Toxic levels of nitrate have entered local streams making the water unfit to drink by people and unfit as a place for fish to swim.  Additionally, such additions of agricultural waste and fertilizers have spawned more frequent and intense harmful algal blooms which have further made water unfit for people and other organisms alike and which have drastically hindered fisheries.  In other parts of the country, transport of pollutants via waterways has made various places along America’s coastlines unfit for swimming, fishing, and other recreational activities.  Storm-water runoff stimulates bacterial blooms along coasts as sewage treatment facilities are unable to decontaminate rainwater that has collected chemicals, fertilizers, and other harmful poisons as it flows from land to sea.  All of these situations have resulted from lack of care for the Creation and for our primary resource.  Through improved management of water, before and after use, before and after it is drawn from the well or faucet, these critical conditions can be corrected.  Most importantly, the ethic must be taught and understood that every living being lives downstream and how we use water impacts the availability and the quality of water for others in adjacent communities. 

submitted by the Chartered Committee for Environmental Ministry, 
Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina
 

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The Episcopal Ecological Network is a national network of active lay and clergy persons within the Episcopal Church, USA, who share a common concern for the environment and a common belief in the presence of God in all Creation and who work to make these concerns and beliefs known throughout all Provinces and Dioceses within the church.  Members come from the provinces of the Episcopal Church USA.  The activities of the Episcopal Ecological Network are focused on the areas of Reflection, Education, and Action.  We invite you to visit us often as we expand the information on our pages.

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