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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  • 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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