Editorial: Precious drops
THE line in Joni Mitchell’s hit song Big Yellow Taxi – “you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone” – touches so many aspects of our lives.
The conservationist song of the early ’70s spoke about paving “paradise to put up a parking lot”. It was written after Mitchell stayed in an Hawaiian hotel. Her views took in a mixed vista of beautiful, swaying palms, beach and blue waters – and, beneath, an ugly concrete car park.
But the sentiment resonated closer to home this week with the second stage of water restrictions in Sydney.
The nation’s largest city is being forced to cut back on its use of water – the commodity so essential for life itself.
Slowly, but surely, we in the coastal cities are realising what our country cousins have know for decades – water is a precious resource that we can’t afford to take for granted or, worse, waste.
We better appreciate today the importance of conserving water through economy and innovation and of recycling what we use; the volume of ‘grey’ water that goes down our drains daily, for example, could be stored and treated for other uses.
We should be urging all tiers of government and encouraging innovators to come up with more water efficient plumbing and appliances.
And, meanwhile, while our lawns and gardens may become a little parched, we should count our blessings and reflect on the plight of more than one billion of our fellow humans who daily are denied access to clean drinking water, and of the 2.4 billion who do not have adequate sanitation or sewerage.
Scripture is full of references to God’s gift of water; it was considered such a treasure – and source of life – in a barren land.
Compliance with current restrictions and a commitment to conservation of this and all the earth’s resources will not only make us good citizens, but, as Christians, worthy recipients and protectors of this divine gift.
Much better that than appreciating too late that what we had in abundance is, through our fault, gone.