|Embracing Water (art by Hallelujah Truth)|
An intriguing question! I've been contemplating this question since I attended the 100 Miles Second Annual Conference on Jekyll Island, Georgia, USA, last week (January 13th). The renown marine biologist, movement maker, and visionary, Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, passionately spoke about WATER with an evangelical fervor!
|WHAT'S YOUR WATER? The question asked by Wallace J. Nichols at the beginning of his keynote talk at the 2018 100 Miles Conference on Jekyll Island, Georgia, USA.|
Someone a while ago asked me which one of the four elements (Earth, Water, Air, or Fire) I most identified with. The questioned haunted me for some reason. In part, I felt challenged. I had always held all of the Earth to be very dear. Why would I choose one element to embrace in particular?
Then one day when I was hiking with my boon companion, Tony Martin, on Mount Arabia, a national heritage area close to where we live in Decatur, Georgia, I had an epiphany! I was hopelessly and madly in love with ROCKS.
|YAY ROCKS! Of the four elements, I have fallen deeply and madly in love with ROCKS. Here I am at Mount Arabia, a granite monadnock, which has its own rich ecosystem. (photo by boon companion, Tony Martin)|
For those of you who know me, you know that my boon companion and husband is a paleontologist, and even more importantly, an ichnologist! Since we met in 2001, I have spent innumerable hours out in the world on, at, surrounded by, and embraced by ROCKS.
These ROCKS have histories! Rich in story, they can tell us about how the earth evolved, rivers that flowed through them in ancient times, fiery powerful forces uplifting them and downshifting them, and life (like dinosaurs) that walked upon them and left their traces.
I adore the smell of rocks, their rough and smooth surfaces beneath my feet, and the vast and various colors! Yay ROCKS!
So imagine my surprise at being asked to shift my mindset to WATER at this 100 Miles Conference (I have always seen the 100 miles of our Georgia Coastline as an inseparable duality of land and sea). Why should I consider the question: WHAT'S YOUR WATER? Why is this question relevant and why is a research associate at the Academy of Sciences asking it?
|Wallace J. Nichols|
Because the health of our Earth's waterways and oceans is dependent on each of us connecting with WATER in a personal way! It is not enough for us to "know" the facts that our oceans are at risk from rising temperatures, overfishing, and pollution. We must also "feel" impacted by those negative changes as a result of our relationship to WATER. From connection comes responsibility, and from responsibility, action.
The only way we are going to succeed in engaging ourselves and others in conserving WATER is to get EMOTIONALLY involved. It is not enough to espouse water's value intellectually through education of its economic value and the balance of ecological systems! NO!
We must love WATER wholeheartedly with both our minds and--significantly--OUR HEARTS!
|THE FOUR E's! In addition to "knowing" about water through the 3 E's --Ecological, Economical, Educational -- we need to experience it through our Emotions. (This image is a PowerPoint slide from Wallace J. Nichols' keynote talk at #100MilesGA.)|
Wallace J. Nichols wrote an entire book -- BLUE MIND -- exploring the role WATER plays in our lives. As a scientist, he looks to neuroscience to explain the benefits to us humans at an emotional and health level. In the works is a new book, "The Seven Ages of Water," in which Nichols explores from birth through death the cognitive, emotional, psychological, social, and spiritual benefits of healthy waterways and oceans.
|CALLING FOR A SPIRITUAL AND CULTURAL TRANSFORMATION. Asking scientists to shift in how they engage themselves and the general public in thinking about conservation. (Wallace J. Nichols used this in his keynote talk #100MilesGA 2018)|
|OUR BELOVED GEORGIA COAST. In answering the question "What's Your Water," I can make this claim: My WATER(s) are the coastal waterways along the coast of Georgia and the marshes and fresh waters on its barrier islands. I have had the enormous privilege of spending time up and down the 100 miles of our Georgia coast as Tony Martin researched and wrote his book, Life Traces of the Georgia Coast, and now works with his Emory colleagues the digital project, The Georgia Coast Atlas. Here we are on Ossabaw Island, December 2017. With each visit to the Georgia coast, I fall more deeply in love with what we locals call the Golden Isles.|