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United Nations Relations

World Water Day Celebrated in Buenos Aires

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Buenos Aires, Argentina - An environmental conference on “Water: Source of Life and Benefit for Everyone” was held on March 22 at the Buenos Aires Peace Embassy in support of World Water Day, established by UN Resolution A/RES/47/193. The gathering highlighted the values of solidarity and peace, educational and cultural concepts, scientific knowledge, and spiritual insights about water.

In addition to the panel of specialists on the topic, a video showed the results of an impressive investigation about this vital element, and the auditorium's walls were transformed into a gallery of beautiful paintings on the theme of water which were sold to raise funds to support the global “Today for Haiti” campaign to dig wells in that Caribbean country.

The gathering included a harmonizing session to the sound of Tibetan earthenware bowls and, in response to a suggestion from the audience, a toast to "blue gold peace" with pure water.

All these considerations showed that this element, that covers about two thirds of the surface of the planet, is not just a colorless liquid (H2O) but a “sacred” element essential to life on the planet.

The hidden secrets of water

At the beginning of the event, a series of messages in support of World Water Day 2010 were read. This included a message by UN General-Secretary Ban Ki-moon, conveyed by the UN Information Centre for Argentina and Uruguay in Buenos Aires.

This last message was read by Mr. Luis D’Angelo, a member of the UPF Peace Global Council. Mrs. Inés Palomeque, director of the Thousand Millenniums of Peace project, spoke about awakening people's consciences to a different lifestyle, since our behavior is influenced more by what we see than by what we are taught.

The first presentation was based on the impressive investigations carried out by the Japanese physician Masaru Emoto on the “Hidden Secrets of Water” (See: www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdwtudIAQWoQ).

His results show that our thoughts, feelings, and words crystallize this liquid in different ways, resulting in harmonious and beautiful shapes when the liquid is exposed to expressions related to love and goodness, and in distorted shapes when it is exposed to evil and offensive expressions or shrill music. “If our being is 70 percent water and we fill it with deep spirituality, with God-centered thoughts, with loving attitudes, with positive energy... imagine how much beauty could we reveal and project around us! Maybe people around us could feel God living inside us.” These thoughts were on one of the final slides in the presentation.

 

The value of water

Mr. Gonzalo del Castillo — a graduate of the University of Buenos Aires with a degree in political sciences and Coordinator for Africa, Asia and Europe of the "Water and Youth International” movement — opened the panel of experts with his paper titled “The Value of Water.” The first graphic in the screen showed apparently contradictory conepts: that water is “incredibly abundant,” that it is “incredibly scarce,” and that is “contaminated.”

Water is abundant considering the volume of water in our planet: 71 of the surface is ocean, and salt water constitutes 97 percent of the total fluids of the globe. The remaining 3 percent is fresh water. Of this last quantity, only 3 percent is available in the rivers, lakes, and underground reservoirs; the rest is ice in the poles and on the high mountains.

In contrast to images of abundance were images of thirsty children and drought. The idea of “incredibly scarce” was conveyed by giving the percentage of the world's population who are without access to clean water: Asia (63%), Africa (28%), Latin America and the Caribbean (7%), and Europe (2%).

Mr. del Castillo also talked about the changes in climate and hydrology as a consequence of human actions and natural causes that will create in future decades not only water shortages but also hunger, malaria, and coastal flooding, unless we confront the problem in a different way.

Finally, he read an extract of a message given more than 150 years ago by Chief Seattle of the Dewamish tribe, speaking on behalf of the Native American people who consider all the elements of nature, including rivers, to be sacred.

Mr. Roberto Caraballo, from Environmental Recreation, talked about the “Role of the Environmental Educator.” He expressed the necessity of establishing a “democratic culture of water” because it represents public assets for excellence, a place of “full life that makes us brothers” based on values like solidarity, reciprocity, complementarity, and the equality.

Mr. Caraballo is a scholar with a degree in Environmental Education for Sustainable Development and coordinates various programs on environment. He talked also about being coherent, about the changing reality of the present situation and the importance of establishing relationships in a community that concern the correct use of the water because “the struggle for water is a struggle for life itself.”

 

A peace movement for blue gold

After the graphic portrayals of the situation by the first panelists, Mr. Jorge Carcavallo Picho from Redepaz (Education for Global Peace) talked about the dichotomy between “war for blue gold" (water) and "peace for blue gold.” He focused on the possibility that future armed conflicts will not be over black gold (oil) but over water resources. He asked everyone to offer one minute of silence for all those who are dying because of lack of water and those who are poisoned by contaminated water. “I’m here for those who are suffering,” he affirmed, voicing his vision about water being essential to the culture of peace.

He also listed some current problems due to the unresponsiveness or inattention of public officials who should take responsibility for them. Finally, he showed a terrible panorama of what 2025 will look like if society does not make drastic changes.

Mr. Picho is a professional in the field of communications and has dedicated his efforts to protect the environment and build a culture of peace in Brazil and Argentina. For several years he has focused on the wisdom of the great spiritual traditions that acknowledge the sacred value of water. He said that “Jonah had his challenge and, in spite of his personal fears, he opened his mouth to prophesy; Nineveh listened, changed its lifestyle, and could be saved."

“Water is life," he said; "we have to share it, not to fight for it.” With this he proposed launching a movement to spread the consciousness of "blue gold peace.” Through this initiative, educators, politicians, businessmen, religious people, and social leaders can work together “to quickly resolve this fratricidal challenge.” For this purpose he called for many types of actions and emphasized the multiple tools available through the Internet.

A drop in the ocean

After the presentations by the panelists, there was an interchange of opinions with the audience and the suggestion given to make a toast with the “vital element of water” because we still have it! The emcee encouraged people to be like the prophet Jonah and lift up their voice to act to avoid war over water resources and be true agents of blue gold peace.

Afterward there was an appeal by the “Today for Haiti” campaign by the Water and Youth international movement. Donations were solicited to help place water pumps in the metropolitan area of Port-au-Prince that devastated by the January 12 earthquake.

An artistic dimension was created by the exhibition of paintings and photographs on the topic of water prepared by Mrs. Herminia Aretuo, host of the Todo Aroma educational program. She had suggested this conference on water. She also showed a bottle of pure water that she had brought from Himalayas 18 years ago, from the source of the GangesRiver, the sacred river of India that unfortunately became one of the most contaminated in the world.

The culmination of the event was an impressive session of sounds from Tibetan earthenware bowls whose special frequencies cause a deep state of relaxation in people, with therapeutically effective results that improve the body's immune system and help harmonize mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical structures. The session, which lasted 15 minutes, was offered by Mr. Rubén Marcote from the “Spiritual Sound Holistic Center.”

Quotes by significant people from different spiritual traditions were reaffirmed during the event and helped reinforce the meaning of this special gathering. Among them were:

  • We must be the change that we want to see in the world.” - Gandhi
  • Sometimes we feel that what we do is just a drop in the sea, but the sea will have something missing, without that drop.”- Mother Theresa of Calcutta

To love nature is to love God.

The conference on water was organized in commemoration of 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity in the framework of the International Decade for the Action “Water for Life” 2005-2015 established by the UN. The conference was organized by Universal Peace Federation-Argentina and supported by the Thousand Millenniums of Peace project and by the radio programs “Cultural Passport” (Mariela Spangenberg) and "Todo Aroma." This corresponds to one of the main focuses of the UPF, which is to cooperate with the United Nationsto reach the Millennium Development Goals.

Taking care of the environment is one of the three divine commandments registered in the Bible: to have dominion with love over the creation. The inspiration offered to the audience at the closing was an extract from Dr. Sun Myung Moon's speech delivered on June 13, 2006 in Korea: “To love the creation is to love God and humanity. When the human life resonates with the creation, the human character will blossom in perfection. The true culture of the heart and the world of true art will blossom. It will be the Garden of Eden, the original ideal where human beings and all the creation live in complete harmony and can express their original nature.” (Peace Message # 5)

 

(Translation by Rosetta Conti de Castellón)
For a youtube musical video of the event, click here.

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