Turning to Traditions: Cultural-Religious Articulations of Water's Value(s) in Struggles for Justice

Authors: Christiana Zenner Peppard*, Fordham University
Topics: Cultural Ecology, Religion, Water Resources and Hydrology
Keywords: water, right to water, environmental justice, water justice, religion and geography
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Maurepas, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Social and environmental justice activisms regarding fresh water in the twenty-first century have increasingly turned to religious and cultural value paradigms that challenge basic presuppositions of late capitalist political economies. The appeal of these movements is not merely in the opposition to hegemonic forms of globalization; it is also a positive construction about the kind of thing that water is understood to be, the values that it carries, the relations that it facilitates, and the human obligations that follow. This chapter will examine three recent paradigms for considering the language of water’s value through the vehicle of legal rights since 2010: (1) mni wiconi and intersectional advocacy at Standing Rock; (2) the achievement of rights for the Whanganui in Aoteoroa (New Zealand); (3) the endorsement of rights to water and the primacy of indigenous knowledge posited by Pope Francis. The chapter will draw out overlapping insights from these endeavors while also delineating necessary humilities for white, western scholars (such as myself) or institutions (such as the Catholic Church) that wish to examine, support, and integrate value paradigms of first peoples with regard to fresh water in the twenty-first century.

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