Unraveling Water; Whirling Washing Machine
A waterway is a stream of water that flows down the landscape into another body of water. I write of rivers, creeks, saltwater bays, oceans, swales and puddles. Pollutants entering a waterway are carried downstream and affect the health of the water elsewhere to the original site. My early waterway-health lessons for Waterwatch were delivered in a linear fashion. Cascading downstream like a waterway, I hoped to wash students closer to our (Melbourne Water’s) slogan aim at the time: Together, toward a sustainable water future. This linear form of sustainability education, or education for sustainability, involved educating learners in how to determine and maintain the health of waterways, which flowed from upstream downward. The expectation was that participants might act toward a cleaner waterway system. Sending the healthy water downstream, alters the health of water downstream for the better. This channel of knowledge sprung from the source toward an estuary mouth, out to sea, like the linear waterways we educated for. I began to wonder what students of the water might do if we left them to do nothing by a river? What if they, the river and the human, were given space to seep into a relationship with each other? The water that inspires me now is no longer the leaf floating downstream in one direction. I am perched upon a leaf. I am (upon) a spiracular, eddying inquiry.
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