In Conversation with… Join us in welcoming Gigi Coyle and Rajendra Singh.
Gigi Coyle, co-founder of Walking-Water, lives in Payahuunadu (the Owens Valley in California) and has been focused on the connection to and teachings of water – the care of and the protection of water – throughout her life. She began this relationship spending much time as a child alongside a lively brook, paddling her first river at age 9 and most noticeably at age 12 entering a series of three-day silent retreats at her convent school surrounded on three sides by the sea.
In her early twenties, with an MA in International Relations, Gigi worked as a community organizer and research consultant focused on the use of appropriate technologies, specifically writing grants and channeling government aid and resources to women overseas. She has travelled and worked in 37 countries extensively, spending time alone in nature and in diverse communities and cultures, seeking pathways to regenerative living, integral healing, local and global partnerships. In 45 of her 69 years, she has served in various roles from volunteer to director, educator to student, consultant to facilitator, working to build bridges “between the worlds.”
She has organized and co-led journeys to the rainforest, the oceans, and the desert, journeys dedicated to witnessing and learning from the great suffering and abundant grace found on this planet. She is a leader of Beyond Boundaries, an inter-generational pilgrimage of service and a response team for our times. She continues today as a rite of passage guide for organizations and individuals as well as a council trainer, community activist, and mentor.
Rajendra Singh is a well-known water conservationist, also known as “waterman of India”. He won the Stockholm Water Prize, an award known as “the Nobel Prize for water”, in 2015. He has been doing pioneering work in community-based efforts in water harvesting and water management for decades. He runs the NGO Tarun Bharat Sangh, which was founded in 1975, an instrumental organization in fighting the slow bureaucracy, the mining lobby, and also in helping villagers take charge of water management in the areas close to Thar Desert, through the use of johad, rainwater storage tanks, check dams and other time-tested as well as path-breaking techniques. Starting from a single village in 1985, over the years TBS helped build over 8,600 johads and other water conservation structures to collect rainwater for the dry seasons, has brought water back to over 1,000 villages and revived five rivers in Rajasthan. He is one of the members of the National Ganga River Basin Authority, which was set up in 2009 by the Government of India as an empowered planning, financing, monitoring and coordinating authority for the Ganges. In 2008, The Guardian named him amongst its list of “50 people who could save the planet”.
This Conversation is also an opportunity to invite financial resources to support the work of each guest and Walking Water. We choose to ask for donations rather than a set price because we wish to evoke the community spirit of gifting. We trust that those who are curious, interested and know they are to be part of these events will truly offer what they can. For those who need a hint or guideline then we suggest a minimum of $10. No-one will be turned away for lack of funds.
All donations are received by Weaving Earth, our fiscal sponsors, and then re-directed to Walking Water.