New water cultures

The right to water is the most basic human right. Water is the lifeblood of the planet, and the fight for water is a social justice struggle at the intersection of political power plays and environmental science. This struggle is fought by people in China, Guatemala, and India being displaced by giant dams, by farmers in California’s Central Valley who are being poisoned by agricultural runoff in their drinking water, by traditional fisherfolk fighting for the return of migratory fish blocked by mega-dams around the world. This page explores how U.S. residents can create new cultural relationships with water through dialog, writing, theater, eco art, and our daily water use.

The writings, plays, dialogues, and strategies collected on this page grew from our desire to craft a new water culture in our corner of Dam Nation. This project began with essays in “The Guerrilla Greywater Girls’ Guide to Water”, drew on our individual and collective explorations of our water sources and infrastructures, and has continued through the anthology Dam Nation: Dispatches from the Water Underground, which links personal use and community watershed relationships inextricably with the most gargantuan official water projects. Other works by us and our collaborators that aim to spark dialog on community strategies for building new water cultures include the Change of State play “Take This House and Float It Away”, “The Gold Fish, or, Straight Flushes for the Manifestly Destined”, July Cole and Cleo Woelfle-Erskine’s one-act slapstick about salmon migration, “If you live in Dam Nation,” July and Cleo’s live-action visual tour of the water grid, and the book Community Strategies for Environmental Health by Dam Nation contributor Jeff Conant.

Read and view the slideshow: Between Storms: Thoughts on sustainable water cultures