The March for Water

wsci_01_img0139On March 22, local environmental groups Anahuak and Urban Semillas will convene the March for Water as part of International World Water Day.  Environmental leaders Raul Macias and Miguel Luna are behind the effort to bring attention to our local, state and international water supply-crisis.

Given Miguel and Raul’s initiative and drive, I expect thousands of marchers along the 5 km route from Los Angeles State Historic Park to Taylor Yards along the Los Angeles River. (Organizers note that 5km is actually 1km less than the average distance that an Asian or African woman typically travels to gather water in an undeveloped setting.)

It has been particularly rewarding over the last few years to see Miguel grow into one of the most effective environmental organizers in the state.  Many years ago, Miguel worked for Heal the Bay as a Coastal Cleanup Day organizer and a Stream Team restoration specialist.  Miguel, who serves as executive director for Urban Semillas, received the inaugural Dorothy Green Activism Award from the Planning and Conservation League in honor of his efforts to protect Los Angeles watersheds. Miguel was a fitting choice to honor Dorothy’s legacy as an outspoken advocate on water supply and water quality issues.

Miguel helped create Agua University, a program that teaches local high school students about California water issues, environmental stewardship and how to improve local communities through environmental activism. In addition, Miguel helps out on nearly every major environmental event in town and he continues to donate his time to help on environmental justice issues, from here to Central America.

Miguel pointed out that Article 31 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:  Everyone has the right to clean and accessible water, adequate for the health and well-being of the individual and family, and no one shall be deprived of such access or quality of water due to individual economic circumstance.

Local messages on California’s continuing water crisis and the need for increased conservation and water recycling will be big themes for Miguel and other march participants. The event also will bring attention to the global water crisis and the fact that nearly 2 billion people don’t have regular access to adequate, clean water supplies. Polluted waters worldwide lead to enormous disease outbreaks, including cholera and severe gastroenteritis, especially among children, the elderly and the infirm.

The impacts of water management and climate change become more dramatic every day, e.g. there are more than 50 giant reservoirs now planned by China downstream of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the source for the Yangtze River. There’s no question that greater attention and bold efforts must be focused on protecting global citizens’ right to clean water.

I hope you can come out on the morning of the 22nd.

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