The Cradle

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“We must begin thinking like a river if we are to leave a legacy of beauty and life for future generations.” 
David Brower

Turkey

Mesopotamia is the valley located between the two great rivers, Tigris and Euphrates. These rivers rest within the Fertile Crescent, the arc of land from the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf.  We have come to think of this area as the Cradle of Civilization, the genesis from which modern societies emerged. The soil was enriched by the layers of silt material that flowed from the Tigris and Euphrates. Beginning around 4000 B.C., urban societies began to flourish along their banks. The people learned to cultivate and draw sustenance from the land.   The cities of Eridu, Ur and Urak thrived, as their inhabitants learned to reroute the water through canals in order to irrigate land at a distance.

Sumerian mythology has a strong connection to water.  One of the seven gods who decree, Enki, was the deity of water, seawater, and lake-water.   He was also the god of intelligence and creation. Originally confined to Eridu, his name spread and soon he was referred to in writing by the number 40, known to be the sacred number.  The precise meaning of his name is unknown however some believe that it comes from a west-Semitic root that has the meaning of “spring” or “running water” or “the house of water.”  Sumerians believed that it was Enki who helped humanity survive the “Deluge.”

Today, this once fertile land is suffering desertification and soil salination from thousands of years of agricultural activities.  The marshland fragile ecosystem is rapidly being destroyed.  Climate change, and man-made canals, dykes and dams have taken a toll.     Time is of the essence.

“In the advanced industrial countries of the northern hemisphere water resources are so abundant that they are more or less taken for granted. In the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East the picture is very different. Almost all Middle Eastern countries are short of water.” 

Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 

 

18 thoughts on “The Cradle

  1. I find this situation scary. The potential for conflict over water is much greater than any conflict over oil.

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    • Indeed, it is!! In Canada, we have an abundance of water, so we have come to think that this is a norm. In fact, our NAFTA trade agreement, classifies water as having more worth than oil. We live in very interesting times….

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    • Every decision we make to conserve and become efficient is critical. Even in small ways, our voice is important.

      “Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.”
      ― Jacques-Yves Cousteau

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      • That is so true, and it is in the small ways that “we” can make such a huge difference. A few years back my hubby & I visited your lovely country, Vancover. We walked looking for recycle bins and finding none we got a big plastic bag and brought all our recycle back with us in the car. Maybe that’s extreme but it’s who we are, can’t help our nature. What’s left when no more water and air!

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      • Vancouver has been catching up – but there is so much more that needs to be done. We have a recycling plan for the city but we have yet to mandate organic recycling. Other cities have been more progressive. My brothers live in Northern Alberta where there is a strict ordinance or organics with fines. Thankfully, I am finding there is a greater awareness overall for personal responsibility when it comes to environmental management. When it starts with an individual, then real change is possible. It gives me great hope!

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  2. Human being cannot exist without water. Yet, we waste and pollute it. Shame, shame on us. Of course, I enjoy my daily morning shower and think very little of ut. But there are those in the world that amount of water would last their family as drinking water for a long time.

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    • I like that my “water” is on demand, but realize that this is not the case for many others that live in our world. This is a complex issue that will take an entire global community to solve.

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  3. Ah! Lady Budd, I hear you laud and clear, and applaud your taking up the banner from your end of this great country of ours, to awaken our fellow citizens. Awaken them of the threat to our water, the most important of our life giving and supporting sustenance. Water which is presently being used in horrendous quantities to eek out more wealth producing dirty oil for the privileged few. That which our elected guardians, a.k.a. political parties in power, are meant and intended to manage and govern (not just their chosen few, oil corporations and banking powers and their ilk, as well as Quebec’s Hydro electric power who continue to destroy what is left of our great rivers) but for the benefit of every single citizen of Canada.

    We need to have someone like you in every province and territory to spread the word, to protect our rivers, and water that allows all creatures life. Thank you for substantial contribution dear Lady. JJ

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    • My dear friend, your love of our world and all that live within its sphere, is seen in every one of your posts and comments. I believe that individual effort has the power to change the conversation into a movement where dedicated, optimistic and determined people will prevail. Do you remember that famous essay by Pierre Elliot Trudeau – “Exhaustion and Fulfillment: The Ascetic in a Canoe.” If anyone loved our environment it was this Prime Minister.

      “What sets a canoeing expedition apart is that it purifies you more rapidly and inescapably than any other. Travel a thousand miles by train and you are a brute; pedal five hundred on a bicycle and you remain basically a bourgeois; paddle a hundred in a canoe and you are already a child of nature.” Pierre Elliot Trudeau

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      • How can I forget most of what he accomplished, as a man of the times. For one thing he was mother’s cousin, and his favourite aunt, was my favourite great aunt. So whenever we met, aunt Lucy was always the first topic of conversation.

        For another, and more important thing, taking Canada out of the stayed, rather boring more British than than the British mentality of Canadian political composure of the times. I fear to which Mr. Harper wants to bring us back with all this Royal business. A memorable departure from the stayed, was the Cape he often wore, and the constant fresh rose boutonniere he wore. Nor can one forget his pirouette behind the Queen of England, I believe after signing the agreement to bring home the constitution.

        Yes of course I remember him well, and so about his life as a man and a politician. I did have some qualms about his socialist leanings, carried with him to the liberal party, especially on some of his fiscal views, but that’s old hat now, and he did do well by us without reservation, culturally and geographically.

        As to trains, bicycles, and canoes, I’m afraid I am guilty of all three, my favourite being long distance high speed road cycling. But I digress from the point he was making, and I know from where and what he speaks. Very much the child of nature, one of his many admirable qualities who concerned himself with the survival of our rivers. He would most certainly admire what you publish on this terribly important issue, on ours and all the rivers of the world. My humble thanks to you for that dear Lady. JJ

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      • What a wonderful, perceptive and generous tribute to a Canadian hero. Thank you for sharing your heartwarming thoughts about a Prime Minister who loved and preserved our wilderness heritage!

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