Ebook/article published June 2019 to Five House Publishing:
River Rights: A United Approach to Improve Sustainable Practice.
This article investigates three prominent cultures, namely Hinduism, Māori World view (New Zealand’s indigenous people) and Christianity. By comparing the different cultures or perspectives, the concept of giving rights to natural features like rivers are discussed. However, there are many more world views – or religions – to consider; the three mentioned are used to speak on behalf of all the different perspectives or views in our world. The three views contrast the different approaches or reasoning when interpreting the idea of river rights. To understand the different philosophical views or premise from which people views the world – or reality – is important. In this article, I call for a unified approach to accept other’s perspectives and views; to develop an attitude of working together for the environment. The world is a global village, and it is challenging to unify diverse ethnic groups, cultures, and races in a specific country or region. In this article, the focus is the rights of rivers, and the responsibilities of that follow.
At the start, we will look at the Hinduism perspective and specific the Ganges River of India. Secondly, the Māori World view will be explored, and the rights of the Whanganui River – awarded in 2014 (New Zealand) will be discussed as a first. Finally, a Christian or Biblical view will be investigated.
About 2,000 million litres of sewage flows into the Ganges River (in the vernacular Ganga) – located in India – every day. Think about that. Every day every week, every year. Year after year. Imagine the impact on the river and its surroundings. The newly re-elected president of India – Narendra Modi (May 2019) – has promised to do something about the pollution of the Ganges River a couple of years ago. Since then, no progress has been made. The Ganges River in India is one of the world's most polluted bodies of water. Are the citizen killing the river? Can the river handle this flow of sewage, you may ask. If the Ganges River could talk, what would it say to us?
Over and above the sewage, the ashes of thousands of Hindus and partially scorched human remains are dumped into the Ganges every day. Birds and dogs scavenge all day and night long. They believe they can break the perpetual cycle of samsara, of birth and rebirth, and thus achieve moksha, eternal liberation.
Overview.. Page 5
Introduction. Page 6
Setting an international example: The Whanganui River in New Zealand receiving ‘rights’ in 2014. 10
A Spiritual Perspective on the Ganges. 10
Māori Perspective of the Environment 12
Kaitiakitanga today. 13
Māori’s Spiritual Perspectives on the Environment 14
A Christian World View or Perspective on Sustainability and Sustainable Practice. 15
Defining Dominion. 17
About the Researcher (Author): 25
Christian Perspective. Page 25