Exploring Human Potential

“We Call Upon The Rivers That Rim The Earth . . .”

Posted on | May 17, 2023 | 2 Comments

Mike Magee

Most futurists will agree that the true challenge is not so much predicting what will happen, but when it will happen. For example, twenty years ago I predicted that many challenges related to integrated water resource management (population growth, urbanization, global warming, disaster preparedness, water safety and purity, ground water contamination, relative water requirements of human dietary choices, aging infrastructure, the pricing of water and more) made it a compelling human health issue that would engage health professionals.

I was wrong. And yet, twenty years later, at the end of this week, I am delivering an updated address on the issue to an overflow crowd at the the Presidents College at the University of Hartford. Apparently water, and the 25 facts all health professionals should know about water, have finally made it to the mainstream.

Witness for example, this week’s headline in the Washington Post, “States near historic deal to protect Colorado River.” It announced a long sought after potential bargain by California, Arizona and Nevada, which form the river’s Lower Basin, to take actions to save the Colorado River and preserve its value as a source of drinking water for 40 million, hydropower for tens of millions, and recreation most notably on the ever-shrinking Lake Mead and Lake Powell. The deal to conserve 13% (3 million acre feet) of each state’s river allocation over the next three years carries a federal contribution to the states of over $1 billion dollars.

By the way, an acre foot is the amount of water it would take to cover an acre of land with 1 foot of water – about 360,000 gallons.

Coming to a deal has meant engaging the Upper Basin states of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming which use far less of this valuable resource than their Lower Basin counterparts. The 1,450 miles of the river move through the seven states as they meander from the Rocky Mountains to Mexico, traversing dependent farms and cities. Also, the discussions for the first time have allowed 30 Native American tribes in the basin to have a voice at the table.

Interior Secretary Tea Harland, the first native American to hold the post, took the bull by the horn in an event at the Hoover Dam that made it clear that time was running out with Lake Powell and Lake Mead at 1/4 of their normal levels, and close to forcing closure of the hydroelectric dam production of electricity. As Colorado’s water commissioner bluntly stated to her counterparts, “Are we going to make a choice to do better? If we don’t want the secretary to manage us, can we show we can manage ourselves?”

The deadline for a firm deal is May 30th. If deadlocked, I would recommend beginning the next mediation session with this ancient Chinook blessing: 

We call upon the earth, our planet home, with its beautiful depths and soaring heights, its vitality and abundance of life, and together we ask her to

Teach us, and show us the Way.

We call upon the mountains, the Cascades and the Olympics, the high green valleys and meadows filled with wild flowers, the snows that never melt, the summits of intense silence, and we ask that they

Teach us, and show us the Way.

We call upon the waters that rim the earth, horizon to horizon, that flow in our rivers and streams, that fall upon our gardens and fields and we ask that they

Teach us, and show us the Way.

We call upon the land which grows our food, the nurturing soil, the fertile fields, the abundant gardens and orchards, and we ask that they

Teach us, and show us the Way.

We call upon the forests, the great trees reaching strongly to the sky with earth in their roots and the heavens in their branches, the fir and the pine and the cedar, and we ask them to

Teach us, and show us the Way.

We call upon the creatures of the fields and forests and the seas, our brothers and sisters the wolves and deer, the eagle and dove, the great whales and the dolphin, the beautiful Orca and salmon who share our Northwest home, and we ask them to

Teach us, and show us the Way.

We call upon all those who have lived on this earth, our ancestors and our friends, who dreamed the best for future generations, and upon whose lives our lives are build, and with thanksgiving, we call upon them to

Teach us, and show us the Way.

And lastly, we call upon all that we hold most sacred, the presence and power of the Great Spirit of love and truth which flows through all the Universe … to be with us to

Teach us, and show us the Way.


2 Responses to ““We Call Upon The Rivers That Rim The Earth . . .””

  1. Martha Z Lewin
    May 19th, 2023 @ 9:58 am

    Great, Mike. Let’s all hope it is not too late.

  2. Mike Magee
    May 23rd, 2023 @ 9:22 am

    Thanks, Martha!

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