Civic Action

An issue I am concerned about is water security. Water security is an issue throughout the world, especially in rural areas of Central and South America, but Mendoza, Argentina is especially vulnerable and they have been having a water crisis for over eleven years. Due to the mountainous climate and its location, the region relies on long-standing irrigation structures invented by indigenous populations to deliver water through the city for agriculture and consumption. However, in December of 2019 there was legislation passed that modified Law 7722, which serves to provide overarching and comprehensive protection to provincial water resources, in a manner that would allow chemical substances such as cyanide and sulphuric acid to be used in mining operations; this used to be banned because of the known risks to water contamination. In Mendoza specifically where there is already a water access problem, demanding the province to sacrifice liters of the resource to be used in mining and rendered unusable by chemical contaminants would make potable water scarce. Mendoza is a city that relies mostly on agriculture (specifically the cultivation of vineyards for winemaking and olive oil production) for its income. It is distinctly more isolated due to the Andes Mountain range and its high elevation (which also makes it a good place to learn Spanish; a geographically isolated location tends to have more distinct linguistic features), and enotourism/vinitourism is a large source of income for the city. There are also indigenous populations in the region, the Huarpes and the Puelches, who have been actively seeking legal recognition and support for generations. Fortunately, though, this issue has had the support and attention of over 50,000 local protesters, as well as the attention of environmental and human rights groups.

With all this in mind, in order to address a greater theme of water insecurity I believe it is important to “begin at home,” as it were; having the drive to help is good and important, but working within one’s own community first to address a need is crucial before one can attempt to work outside of one’s own community. Work within the society you participate in. Take water insecurity in the United States, for example (a wide area, but important): we do have it despite all of our advances, and it disproportionately affects low-income families of racial minorities in geographical areas that do not have local or state legislature that supports them. I think this frames the issue in a way that emphasizes sustainability in the terms we have previously defined, as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion and the global consciousness that comes with interdependence.

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