Podcast: Does morality play a role in protecting freshwater? Religious scholar joins podcast

February 12, 2016

“Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last 200 years.”

These are the words of Pope Francis

Since the onset of his papacy, he’s professed that the Earth is sacred. We have a responsibility to protect it. He’s the first in his position to address Congress, and his assertions have made a splash in the religious and environmental communities.

The Pope isn’t the next guest on freshwater Talk, but instead a woman who’s studied the ties binding religion and the environment and the role morality plays in protecting the place we all call home.

Diana Butler Bass is an author, speaker, and independent scholar specializing in American religion and culture. She regularly speaks at conferences, consults with religious organizations, leads educational events for religious leaders, and teaches and preaches in a variety of venues. She also writes for The Huffington Post and The Washington Post and comments on religion, politics, and culture in the media including USA TODAY, Time, Newsweek, CBS, CNN, FOX, PBS, and NPR.

Bass holds a Ph.D. in religious studies from Duke University and is the author of nine books, including Grounded: Finding God in the World. Her latest unpacks the ways in which people are moving away from traditional religious experiences and instead finding new spiritual ground by discovering and embracing God in the world around us—in the soil, the water, the sky, in our homes and neighborhoods, and in the global commons.

Using personal experiences along the Potomac River as setting, she dedicates a chapter in Grounded to exploring how time spent in and around water can evoke a sense of moral responsibility within individuals to become better stewards of the invaluable natural resource.

“Rivers are real, endangered places that demand our ethical attention,” she said. “The world’s waterways call us to practice social justice- to restore them, to make sure rich and poor alike have access, and to manage water in drought-stricken lands with creativity and foresight.”

Without a doubt, this is an interesting way to get at the issue of protecting and restoring freshwater. But it’s a great listen. Let us know your thoughts and questions by tweeting us @fresH20trust.

Next month, I’m joined by one of the nation’s most respected thought leaders and commentators on water. Robert Glennon is a sought-after speaker and analyst. He helps reporters, government officials, the business community, academics, and the public to understand the current water policy landscape.

Until then? Cheers.

Joe Whitworth, president of The Freshwater Trust

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