Today is World Water Day. From waterday.org: Water affects every aspect of our lives, yet nearly one billion people around the world don't have clean drinking water, and 2.6 billion still lack basic sanitation. World Water Day, celebrated annually on March 22, was established by the United Nations in 1992 and focuses attention on the world's water crisis, as well as the solutions to address it.
This year, a collaborative of US-based organizations have joined to raise awareness and call for stronger commitments from governments, the private sector, and US citizens for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) initiatives in low-income countries.
By deploying the solutions that already exist, we can save the lives of thousands of children each day, advance education and employment - especially among women and girls - and fuel economic growth around the world.
Learn more about the events planned in Washington DC and around the country for World Water Day 2010 and find out how you can take action to help make clean water and sanitation a reality for people around the globe.
To learn more: http://www.waterday.org/.
Today is Newroz (Norooz), the Zoroastrian new year. For those who have not read of the environmental focus of Zoroastrianism and of its founding influence on the world's primary faiths, a primer:
Zoroastrianism is a religion founded in ancient times by the prophet Zarathushtra, known to the Greeks as Zoroaster.
Zoroastrianism was the dominant world religion from 559 BCE to 651 CE, and was thus the most powerful world religion at the time of Jesus. It had a major influence on other religions and is still practiced world-wide.
Those other religions that Zoroastrianism influenced?
Western Abrahamic (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) and Eastern Dharmic (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism) religious traditions, including God, the Devil, sexual equality, evolution, environmentalism, and, my personal favorite, free will...
What is Zoroastrianism?
What is Zoroastrianism?
"Zoroastrianism is the oldest of the revealed world-religions, and it has probably had more influence on mankind, directly and indirectly, than any other single faith." - Mary Boyce, Zoroastrians: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1979, p. 1)
"Zoroaster was thus the first to teach the doctrines of an individual judgment, Heaven and Hell, the future resurrection of the body, the general Last Judgment, and life everlasting for the reunited soul and body. These doctrines were to become familiar articles of faith to much of mankind, through borrowings by Judaism, Christianity and Islam; yet it is in Zoroastrianism itself that they have their fullest logical coherence....” - Mary Boyce, Op. Cit. p. 29.
I spoke with a friend the other day, one of those rare individuals who'd passed his 87th birthday with a clear perspective on life that went beyond even his years, and heard from him frustration that has been echoed both by others of his generation and by those who are not yet of age to drink or vote.
The question they've been asking is: what happened?
What happened to the values for which the WWII generation fought and died? What happened to our principals about saving money and living within our means? What happened to fighting for freedom of religion and thought and tolerance? What happened to personal responsibility and the willingness to sacrifice to meet a shared goal? What happened to the moral centers of those in charge for the last few decades that made them think they could use the earth as their personal or corporate garbage dump, their offshore bank account, their property to pillage?
My friend bemoaned the generation that had followed his as trust-fund babies given every opportunity after a hard-won victory, who did not understand or care about the sacrifices made to provide them with the right to become something more than their fathers.
Instead, he complained, they squandered it for short term gain and immediate gratification.
I have heard the same from those younger than me. How could so much have been lost so fast? What about us? What will happen to our lives and our children now that our fathers and mothers have spent their inheritence? Who broke America, who broke the world, who is going to fix it?
The answer most people in America give, according to the polls, is Barack Obama. There is a lot to be said for his accomplishments in so short a time -- increased national debt notwithstanding (given the enormity of the problems he has inherited) -- but that's not, I suspect, the answer he would give. The president would say (and has said) that we all have to change to get out of this mess. Continued...