By Prof Pilar Viviente
Universidad de Miguel Hernandez, Altea, Spain
Quan beguis aigua, recorda la font.
When you drink water, remember the fountain.
We all know that water is extremely important in our life –Water is life. It is also a great metaphor of human behavior –Be water my friend. That’s it! Be smart. Be water.
Like many have said; who have written about developing ourselves; to be water is to be fluid and flexible under pressure; something that is important now with our need to change for the environment. I feel that is what we should be doing in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. Be safe. Be kind. Be just like water. We’re in this together in every shape and form. We will get through this together!
Our environment is what houses and helps our ecosystem grow and thrive. All of the ecosystems that make up our environment are deeply connected. By not protecting and caring for our environment we’re putting so many lives at danger such as animals, plants and crops, and even our own. We are not fully aware of the seriousness of the situation.
50 years ago, on April 22, Earth Day was celebrated for the first time to raise awareness of the problems caused by pollution. In the current COVID-19 crisis, we should make short and long-term decisions to improve protection and respect for our planet. Celebrations and news are not enough, educational action is needed worldwide. By instance, Water in our Life: Textbook for Teachers in Environmental Education Developed by a group of scientist of ITE “Internationalisation and Innovation of Teacher Education” with support of UNESCO and the United Nations Environment ‘Programme and the German Commission for UNESCO (1993).
Caring for the environment is a health issue, and it has become an emergency of our time. It is known that there is no great mystery about the cause of the coronavirus pandemic or any other modern pandemic. The same human activities that drive climate change and biodiversity loss can also create epidemic risks through their impacts on our environment. According to doctor Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance, “Changes in the way we use land, the expansion and intensification of agriculture, and unsustainable trade, production and consumption alter nature and increase contact between wildlife, livestock, pathogens and people. This is the path to pandemics.”
An example of ecological agriculture, key in the preservation of the planet’s biodiversity, is the irrigation ditch. As our veins, the ditches carry life. This has inspired my film SWEET WATER – SAVE NATURE SAVE CULTURE. 2007 [HQ] 2:58, which was featured at the Stage 8 event, a promotional event held on 7/7/07, under the “Live Earth -the concerts for a climate in crisis” of Al Gore. The event was an offer Stage 8 Film Annex to display in a virtual event the selected videos in the call for Artport Project. Stage 8, the Z-Rocks festival Outdoor Amphitheatre in the virtual world of Zwinktopia, moved to 7 million registered users to save the planet. The show consisted of 24 hours in programs where major artists of today hung video clips, webcasts, performances, interviews featuring his music and his commitment to saving the environment and creating a sustainable future. Zwinktopia received press coverage autonomic of 60 Minutes. Press releases were sent to major news sources on the world scene. The promotional videos were presented with seven days notice on the home page of Zwinktopia.
Link to the my film in my Artist page: https://www.facebook.com/MariaPilarVivienteSole/videos/988630564533537/
External links to my film hosted on Andrew Horvitch’s Youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixFhUVe4y0Y
My video shows how important it is SAVE NATURE and SAVE CULTURE, and the film ends with the message WATER IS LIFE. SAVE NATURE on a dry and cracked earth. SWEET WATER means freshwater, which saves nature from global warming and saves lives, and refers to the protection of natural resources, natural energy, solar electricity… The video stimulates creativity and the feeling of fluid, its liquid nature –Fluid is the new flexible. As Bruce Lee said, “Be like water.” “Empty your mind… be formless, shapeless, like water…” Life is easier when you are able to flow with the changes.
The images and sound of nature come from a natural environment located in a local villa in Altea, Alicante (Spain). The water system is an ancient irrigation technique used by the farmers of the Valencian Community for hundreds of years since the Middle Ages –a small water channel that runs through the land, a very ecologic system which is in the process of disappearing but still exists in the municipality. There is a Water Route through Altea la Vella that links six points of interest linked to the old cultivation and irrigation techniques.
It will take you around 25 minutes to walk this charming route that will bring you closer to the agricultural culture of the Valencian orchard. And you can enjoy the Big Fountain, the Carob Tree Fountain and the ravine after the rains.
This video or the previous 6-minute video is included in several exhibitions –Le Petit Versailles Garden, NY 2006, Paraninfo of Zaragoza University 2001, AECI Cultural Center of Spain in St Domingo, Dominican Republic 2002, Ibercaja Valencia 2007, BilbaoArte Foundation, Bilbao 2008, EAC La Barbera, Villajoyosa 2008, Tribes Gallery, NY 2014.
Some frames have been published in exhibition catalogs, and also the video has been screened in oral presentations –InSEA European Regional Congress 2007, Art Education Research and Development Congress, Heidelberg – Karlsruhe, Germany, and ISASAT Congress, I International Congress of Psychosocial Intervention, Social Art and Art Therapy 2012. Often alongside other topics related to cities and sustainable development, since the concept ‘Save Nature – Save Culture’ is related to building communities through the arts that reflects a culture of peace, as I point out in an article at the research magazine UMH Sapiens, N 5, 2014.
Be like water; freshwater from the irrigation ditch, freshwater from the fountain, rain and thaw waters; let yourself become part of what’s happening around you, instead of fighting back. Being flexible does not mean you are giving up; water freezes, melts, vaporizes… Water is also a life force!
I grew up in a house up the mountains through which an irrigation ditch passed, in Peramola village, Catalonia. Going up the irrigation ditch you reach the fountains of the Corb ravine, known as “Camí de les Fonts” (Fountains Path). Let me end this article with my work inspired in one of these fountains, the “Font del Cané”, and exhibited at the Selfie Show, Museum of New Art (MONA) 2014.
Environmental art can inspire people to keep up the fight for change, environmental awareness and community support.
Images: Artworks by Pilar Viviente.