WATER

MULTIPLE REFLECTIONS ON WATER: (LIFE-SOURCE)-(RESOURCE)-(COMMODITY).

this environmental project is a combination of academic research, photojournalism and creative writing. the text of the paper written for this project sits above each of the images. the footnotes lie below.

These are two quite separate ways of understanding and relating to water. This distinction between our environment and the resources we extract from it (responsibly or otherwise) becomes clearer when the language with which we speak about water in these two forms is observed: A resource system, and a hydrological cycle. This is just one division of countless that could be made when trying to wade through all our individual connections with water and their implications on our relationship with the natural world4, but it is a distinction, which hopefully, within the next section, will help in placing ourselves in perspective both within a city (in recognising our resources, and thinking about them more holistically) and how a city, through this perspective, becomes a part of the natural world. When water is taken out of its natural form, out of its natural cycle, and brought into an industrial system there obviously are repercussions and changes5. Not only the form, visibility and function alter with its movement into a controlled and regulated system, in addition, the language we use and our relationship to it transforms as well. In short, water changes as it comes into a city, from a life-giving source to a resource.
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4 “Water, no less than the more general notions of ‘landscape’ and ‘nature’, is a social construction. Over time, society, and importantly, different subgroups of society, (and for our purposes let us stay with scientists and poets) have invested particular meanings in ‘water’. For the ecologist, water might seem predominantly as a resource for plants and animals. The focus of the plant scientist would be even more specific, namely, a raw material for photosynthesis. The poet, on the other hand, finds that water is a source of dreams and reveries…. What all this means is that we all have an investment, a stake, in how water is understood, how it is used, and how it is abused (Russell in Honari (ED.) 1999: 251).” 5 “We cannot think about the quantity of water that circulates the earth without thinking about environmental problems. To solve environmental problems we need the prevention of water contamination…Water circulates in this world limitlessly and absorbs and dissolves all contaminants. Water is the source of life. If water is contaminated, all creatures would be denied of their existence (Emoto 2002: 11).”
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