An international network of churches and Christian organizations has launched a seven week Lenten campaign to raise awareness about the role that water plays in our economy.
"In these times of economic and environmental crisis, there is a fresh urgency for Christians to engage in reflection and action on the 'economy of water," the Ecumenical Water Network's (EWN) website reads.
EWN coordinator Maike Gorsboth says, "Water is the lifeblood of the planet as well as the economy. It is crucial for sustainable development in regard to health, food security, energy and poverty – issues that affect and engage churches around the world in different ways."
The campaign, held on a yearly basis, will feature a weekly reflection from a church leader from the EWN's network centered on a chosen theme as well as campaigning links and ideas for activities encouraging individuals and congregations to work towards water justice in their communities.
"To be thirsty for water is part of the human condition. It is the bodily expression of the longing for the fullness of life, but it can also turn into a greedy effort to maximize satisfaction," writes the Rev. Dr. Konrad Raiser, former general secretary for the World Council of Churches, in his reflection on the first week's theme, "Thirst for water – thirst for life."
Given special attention in this year's campaign is the controversial "Green Economy" concept, which aims at reconciling economic development with environmental and social well-being. The topic is a key one in the debates leading up to the U.N.'s "Rio 20" Conference on Sustainable Development, which will take place in late June.
The "economy of water" campaign roughly coincides with the Lenten season on the Christian calendar, which counts 40 days, not including Sundays, until Easter. Lent begins on Wednesday, while the EWN's campaign began on Monday.
Part of the campaign includes World Water Day, which will be observed this year on Maundy Thursday, March 22. World Water Day, which was inaugurated in 1993 by the United Nations, encourages the public not to use their taps during the entire day in an effort to conserve water. Maundy Thursday, also known as Holy Thursday, is the fifth day of the Passion Week and commemorates the day that Jesus and the disciples held the Last Supper.