What should the role of governments and of Christians be in the growing concerns about water in our world?
The ongoing Flint water crisis has reminded many of us of the role that government plays in providing water to the public. While evangelicals may not be inclined to see access to clean water as a faith or justice-based issue, Christians should care about the human "right to water." For Christians, access to water ought not be about the arbitrariness of birth and geography or the vagaries of power. It is a matter of justice, and our response is grounded in God's call to seek shalom, in this case by addressing the access problems and inevitable conflicts that arise when a good is both basic and unevenly distributed.
The United Nations estimates that over 10 percent of the world's population lacks a regular supply of usable water, and over a third do not have basic sanitation. Access is generally more acute in regions that are poor and arid, but the problem is not limited to those places. In the United States, we see water problems ranging from water pollution in cities such as Flint, Michigan to long-term drought impacting farmers and families in the North American west. With increasing frequency, people around the world are facing growing issues around the distribution of water.
The appropriate role of government in addressing these problems, as well as the role of Christians in responding to distribution of water as a matter of public justice will, no doubt, become an ever-more pressing concern in the years ahead.
A Christian Voice in Water Politics, Kevin R. den Dulk, published February 2016 by Center for Public Justice in Capital Commentary
Confronting Flint's Underground Disaster, Kevin R. den Dulk, interviewed on March 24, 2016 by Christianity Today for the Quick to Listen series
- Sandra Postel talks about global water issues and stewardship in Replenish: The Virtuous Cycle of Water and Prosperity as part of Calvin's 2020 January Series
- Kevin R. den Dulk makes a case for why Christians should care about the human “right to water.”. (Christianity Today (web), 3/2016)
- Kevin R. den Dulk explores the Flint water crisis as an issue of public justice. (Washington Post, 2/2016)
- Doing Justice to our Closest Neighbors by Talia Strauss considers water poverty in the United States. (CPJ, Shared Justice, 1/2014)
- Hillary Yancey discusses the growing problems in the middle U.S. as the High Plains (or Ogallala) aquifer is rapidly shrinking
(CPJ, Shared Justice, 11/2013)
- Christiana Peppard presents a robust theological argument for clean water. (Just Water: Theology, Ethics and the Global Water Crisis)
- The Evolutions of the Law and Politics of Water includes the historical evolution of water law and politics