By Kate Bunney, Coordinator Walking Water
In 2012 I came to the Owens Valley for the first time and was instantly in awe of the magnificence around me. To the West the Sierras, to the East the Inyos and so much expanse, wilderness, desert and life in between.
I had come to the Valley to participate in a course led by Gigi Coyle for Community leaders from all over the world. Our focus was very much on how our work in the world could better serve the relationship between us, as human beings, and the earth we share. One day, as I was walking along Tinnemaha Creek I could suddenly see Pilgrimage – the image, sound, smell, movement of a group of people with intent to bring awareness to the long-standing and conflicted issue of Water in California and the World.
Unknowingly I had walked into one of the most contentious water issues in the United States, a conflict that has seen the gradual desertification of the Owens Valley, the constant increase in the urbanization of Los Angeles and still very few solutions on how to manage the water resources in such a way that there is enough for all – human beings, animals, plants and earth. And this is just one example of many unresolved water issues throughout the world, occurring right now.
As I began to speak this vision it quickly became clear that many people had had the same or very similar vision. The core advising team of Gigi Coyle, Win Phelps, Andy Lipkis and Sharon Shay Sloan quickly came together with their support and knowledge. A much larger support circle is ever growing with those who wish to give time, experience and knowledge to Walking Water. In this sense, at the core of Walking Water’s vision, is collaboration and cooperation.
Walking Water is not a demonstration, it is not a march against something, instead it is a celebration of the possibilities we have when we come together. Walking Water asks us to think together, feel together, work together, resolve together, create together and walk together. Walking Water refuses to be enemies, to judge or to take sides. Instead it chooses to create space where everyone involved in trying to deal with the situation that has been handed to them can share their vision, their dreams, their story, as well as their pain and grievances.
Walking Water is about creating a new narrative, one based on both our common need and respect for water, our common endeavor to create meaning in our relationship with water and this world, and ultimately to live within our means.
Walking Water is about collaboration, common sense, cooperation and courage to think outside of what we know.
Walking Water is about contributing to a positive model of water usage, water management and complex, all-encompassing thinking and acting in how we use and treat the world’s resources.