April 12, 2016 saw the worldwide release of limnologist Nina Munteanu’s book “Water Is…” (Pixl Press) and two months later, on June 12th, Councillor Jim Tovey, Mississauga Nation Knowledge Keeper Nancy Rowe and others helped celebrate water with a blessing of Mimico Creek and the official launch of Water Is…
The Sunday June 12th event at Islington Golf Course, Etobicoke “celebrated water and our connection with it.” Seventy-five people attended, including the participation of TRCA, CVC, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, Ecologos, RSI, poets, writers and artists.
“Water is life, water is healing, we owe everything to water.” said Rowe during the blessing. Despite the celebration, Mimico’s ironic reality was reflected in the ceremony: “You used to be able to drink this water,” Rowe lamented as she used tap water for the water blessing ceremony.
Vince D’Elia of TRCA gave Mimico Creek a failed report card and spoke about the need to educate the public on water and watersheds and the various initiatives that TRCA are promoting in the GTA. Given that Mimico Creek flows some 33 km within a 77 km2 watershed that encompasses three jurisdictions (Brampton, Mississauga, and Toronto); harmonizing efforts is no easy task.
Councillor Tovey stressed connection of individuals, communities and jurisdictions to create awareness and action in re-wilding our watersheds and to foster beauty. He highlighted Mississauga’s extensive planning and investment into these initiatives, saying that they are setting the precedent for all Canadian cities for sustainability planning.
Claire Lawson of LOWaterkeeper proclaimed that, “We are Lake Ontario,” referring to us being 70% water and the constant circulation of water on the planet. She urged participants to share their watermark—a personal story that connected them with a particular waterbody and event—to help promote meaning and protection of waterbodies around the world. Ro Omrow, with Ecologos (WaterDocs) invited participants to sign a petition to make Toronto a Blue Community. Initiated by the Council of Canadians, a Blue Community is one that:
- Recognizes water as a human right
- Bans the sale of bottled water in public facilities and at municipal events
- Promotes publicly financed, owned and operated water and wastewater services.
Poet Merridy Cox shared her Watermark about a pond she grew up with as a child; Liana Di
Marco read her poem “Rewilding the Sacred”, which appears in Water Is…; and John Ambury read his poem “Moving Waters”, also in Water Is… Mississauga artist Tasnim Jivaji exhibited her water-inspired art. Originally from Nairobi, Kenya, Jivaji said, “In all my travels, in all the places around the world, it has never been the concrete that takes my breath away; it is always the body of water.”
The event also included a Water Action Station, which featured a charity board and a pledge to Cousteau’s Bill of Rights for Future Generations. The mission of the Cousteau society and this bill is to “educate people to understand, to love and to protect the water systems of the planet, marine and fresh water, for the well-being of future generations.”
According to Tovey, Nina Munteanu’s book “Water Is…” bridges the gap from awareness to appreciation, connection and final action.
Praise for “Water Is…” has come from around the world:
“This book emotionally connected me with water. As a result it fed my perception about the value of life. It reminded me that life reveals in each space a complex system that is full of surprise and beauty. A system of which I am part, without separation.”—Laura Fres, One Deep Sustainability, Barcelona, Spain
“A sumptuous collection of treasures…from the basics of matter itself to the social and spiritual aspects of this substance, which touches our lives so much and is still not really understood.”—Dr. B. Kröplin and Regine C. Henschel, “World in a Drop”, Germany
“Congratulations, Nina! Water Is… is an adventurous, surprising and inspiring book that could not feel more timely. The writing swept me away on a journey through history, landscape and our entire universe, yet brought me back home in the end with a fresh perspective on the significance of water.”—Emmi Itäranta, author of Memory of Water, United Kingdom
“If you don’t want to read all those other books on water, just read this one.”—John Stewart, Mississauga News, Ontario, Canada
“[Nina] is immersed well enough in water to tell us about how we should think about it. And the way she goes about it in this book is awfully good…A fine achievement.”—Joseph Planta, The Commentary, Vancouver, Canada
“This book leaves me impressed. From science to science fiction, from philosophy to religion, from history to fairytale, the role of water is illustrated and illuminated. Water is probably the best investigated and least understood substance on this world, yet we still don’t know how to describe it in a better way than calling it H2O. This book tries to zero in on the missing part, the great unknown of water, and it does it in a very intelligent and charming way.”—Elmar C. Fuchs, scientist, WETSUS Program Manager, Netherlands
“Kudus to Nina Munteanu for sharing her deep wisdom, experience and knowledge of humanity’s greatest natural resource! As Leonardo da Vinci said, “We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.” We forget at our own peril and so I am deeply grateful for this book by so highly qualified an author!”—Elisabet Sahtouris, evolution biologist, futurist, author of Gaia’s Dance: The story of Earth & Us, USA
Water Is… arose from a lifetime’s dedication to water and to humanity’s integral connection to our environment. Munteanu firmly believes that water is the “glue” that can help us all connect and this book is the result.
Munteanu concluded the event by saying: “In the months and years to come we may see water further commodified, abused, and persecuted, figuring in tensions, take-overs and wars… Or not … That depends on us, everyone of us. We’re over 70% water after all.
We ARE water…
What we think, feel and do, so does water…”
Images by Kevin September (@SeptemberSphere; http://kevinseptember.com)
Water Is… cover design and interior layout by Costi Gurgu.
Water Is… editing and indexing by Merridy Cox.
Water Is… poetry contributions by John Ambury, Liana Di Marco.
Pixl Press is donating a portion of book proceeds to several water charities, selected by participants at the Toronto launch. These include (in order of priority): LOWaterkeeper, Ecologos, Water Planet Foundation, Waterkeeper Alliance, Water for People, and Nature Conservancy Canada.
Nina Munteanu is an ecologist, limnologist and internationally published author of award-nominated speculative novels, short stories and non-fiction. She is co-editor of Europa SF and currently teaches writing courses at George Brown College and the University of Toronto. Visit www.ninamunteanu.ca for the latest on her books.