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Water is life – long may rivers flow

Roger Casale, co-founder of the World Upshift Movement, reveals how partner organisations will be celebrating Earth Day
Local villagers waiting with plastic canisters to get safe water from public water well in Nyarusiza, Uganda

This article first appeared in our Earth Day 2023 issue of My Green Pod Magazine, published on 22 April 2023. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox

Rome’s Trevi Fountain is a triumph of engineering, not just a masterpiece of baroque art.

The vast, shimmering pool of water, which draws millions of tourists to the heart of Rome each year, was originally fed by an 18km aqueduct in a perfect harmony of science, nature and art.

Today, Italy’s water challenge is a different one. Low levels of rainfall in the Alps and the Po Valley, the vast northern plain which is home to the country’s agricultural sector, mean that lakes and rivers are drying up.

Sea water is encroaching up the river estuary, causing a problem for drinking water. In Venice, gondolas lie stranded due to the low level of the lagoon.

Earth stewards

Tammy Scarlett, board member of the World Upshift Movement and executive director of UNIFY, the global nonprofit for world peace and impact, has a very simple message this Earth Day: ‘No water, no life. Know water, know life.’

Combining her Harvard education in anthropology and MBA studies with her time spent with Native American and First Nations communities, Scarlett promotes a return to ancient wisdom and nature to inform global systems solutions.

‘Water is the great messenger of existence on Earth’, Tammy says. ‘It connects all things. Above and beneath the land, in plants, in the sky, in our bodies. When we stand for water, we stand for all life. Solutions for humanity are already being found in our capacity to connect with water. Try listening to water today and see what message it might be carrying for you.’

This Earth Day, 22 April 2023, the World Upshift Movement is joining calls around the world that focus our attention on the liberating and healing power of water.

Preparing to address a worldwide audience during the Earth Day l Global Broadcast UNIFY is co-organising with participation from the World Upshift Movement, Tammy said: ‘The world around us is longing for a deeper relationship and connection with us, one of deep understanding and reciprocity. If humanity is able to shift our relationship framework with the Earth – from ownership to stewardship – we will be able to unite and heal our planet.’

Wells and reforestation

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the World Upshift Movement is working with Queen Diambi Kabatsuila and Dr and Master Zhi Gang Sha, founder of the Love, Peace and Harmony Foundation, to bring water to at-risk communities by drilling and constructing wells. 

The first well was built in the village of Tshiole in 2022; 10 more wells, serving 60,000 people, are on the way.

‘Rural communities in the Congo have been devastated by the clean water crisis’, said Master Sha, ‘and we are humbly doing what we can to help them heal themselves.’

As Queen Diambi explains, ‘For hundreds of years, one of the most challenging problems my people continuously face is access to clean drinking water. When I received the news, I felt an explosion of joy, knowing that good health and opportunities for my people are on the way.’

The wells will mean that girls no longer have to take hours out of their day to walk miles and miles to collect drinking water for their families; those hours can now be spent in school.

Over the last 15 years, the Love Peace Harmony Foundation has also planted over one million trees in Latin America and the Pacific as part of its PlantAMillion project.

With support from the World Upshift Forum, the PlantAMillion programme is now to be extended to Africa.
On Earth Day, the foundation is organising a 12-hour ‘Summit and Singing for Mother Earth Marathon’ with Master Sha, to raise funds to build more wells and support reforestation.

Young changemakers

Rahmina Paullete, a young climate activist in Kenya and member of the World Upshift Climate Forum, is working with Fridays for Future to save Lake Victoria. Her campaign involves recycling water hyacinth from the lake so that the fish, and the lake, can breathe again. 

‘As young people, we feel we are knowledgeable about how to address today’s global challenges’, Rahmina said. ‘With our campaign and through our hands-on project, we aim to raise awareness and hold politicians to account.’

Fionn Ferreira is a young scientist, inventor and sustainability advocate. His work is helping create a more sustainable future by removing microplastics from water.

Fionn’s innovative device earned him recognition as the Global Grand Prize Winner of the Google Science Fair. 

‘The plastics we use daily threaten the health of our oceans and also our health’, Fionn said. ‘When fish consume microplastics, these particles accumulate, going up the food chain and on to our plates. We must act now to stop this bioaccumulation before it’s too late.’

Sveva Milano and Alejandra Alfaro Alfieri, two young leaders from World Usphift’s partner organisation Retake Rome, are organising a cleanup along the Tiber on Earth Day.

True to purpose, their action comes from the heart and makes a lasting impact on communities, raising awareness and inspiring others to become stewards of their local environment.

This Earth Day, the World Upshift Movement is joining calls for more investment in young people like Rahmina, Fionn, Sveva and Alejandra and the amazing projects they lead.

Purpose and wellbeing

In his new book, The Politics of Being, World Upshift Forum member Thomas Legrand PhD proposes a fundamental reframing of our model of development.

Mobilising a wealth of research, the core teachings of wisdom traditions and his own personal experience, Legrand argues that we need to upshift from a model based on ‘having’ to one based on ‘being’. 

Focusing on water – whether that be a glass of water at home, a beautiful lake, a fountain or raindrops on your window – can help you to find that moment and that inner space to connect with who you are – not just what you have or what you do. 

The Earth Day | Unify Global Broadcast will be filled with messages of peace and hope from renowned spiritual leaders and opportunities to come together to regenerate our planet.

Our Upshift message this Earth Day will be about inner renewal as a precondition for the regeneration of our planet.

As we cast a coin in our minds into the Trevi Fountain, may we focus our attention on the life-giving and restorative power of water. Long may the waters flow.

You can contact, join or partner with the World Upshift Movement and take part in World Upshift Forum events, on Earth Day and beyond, by clicking here.

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