Who is water? This question presents a fundamental change in thinking by giving legal personhood to water and will transform our approach to water as a culture. In this TED talk, Kelsey Leonard argues that water needs legal rights just as people do. Leonard is a legal scholar and scientist in the the Shinnecock Nation--an indigenous tribe of people in the state of California, USA. Her tribe believes that water holds memories and therefore holds life. Water is alive to the Shinnecock. Holding a glass of water in our hands, do we too have such appreciation for this vital substance? Do we truly revere the lifegiving power that water holds in our lives? Giving water legal rights would be one way to fight injustice towards water, the land and all beings who love and live on the earth.


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  • Rachael Denny

    As the Lorax spoke for the trees, so we should speak for the water.

  • freda

    Water is life. We are mostly water and we should honor life, ourselves, water and the bodies of water that create the world we live in. Without water we are nothing. And when we honor water we are a part of the miracle of life and the flow of water and life through all our generations.

  • melanie

    The introductory paragraph above is heart-warming. I'm reminded of a printed INVOCATION TO WATER that I keep over my inverted glass (not plastic) water jug and ceramic dispenser: I take this, the Water of Life. I declare it the Water of Light. As I bring it within my body, It allows my body to glow. I take this, the Water of Light. I declare it the Water of God. I AM a Master in all that I AM. Blessings to all.

  • Stacy

    What inspired you about this video? I live in Japan. Here it is commonplace to see waterways in concrete gulleys, to protect people from water, from the typhoon-related floods. Waterways are strictly controlled, kind of like the people. Often, I see heavy equipment harvesting gravel or changing the flow of large rivers. Now giant salamanders, an ancient and highly vulnerable species, struggle to survive because they cannot get past the dams, and due to pollution from development and agriculture. I hope this talk gets played again and again and again until policymakers realize this is the only way...

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  • The earth holds 1% of accessible potable, drinking water. Learn why it is important to conserve and protect fresh water. 
  • What have you done for water today? Look here for 10 ideas that can preserve water for the better of all. 
  • The next time you have a gathering with friends or family, fill a pitcher with water and place it in the middle of the table. Honor the personhood of water as it holds the memories of your time together.

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