The human species is unique among living organisms in its capacity for adaptive specialization. This takes the form of identification with the process of adaption itself, not in a physical form or skill specific to an ecological niche. Our survival depends on ability to adapt, not just in a reactive but a proactive sense of shaping the environment. A major instrument and facilitator in our capacity to reinvent and improve upon this innate skill is the continuing development of technology from simple machines of bygone civilizations to today’s sophisticated products of computer technology.
Whether the innovation takes the form of a pulley, waterwheel or the evolution of artificial intelligence the bond between human and machine is still a conceptual one of artifact, instrument, human actions and human goals.
The conquest of water, a resource which led to the development of irrigation and the story of mankind in history, is an example of our proactive ability to harness and manipulate natural phenomena for the purposes of survival itself. The legacy of water control development and irrigation is one that reveals moments of great human ingenuity, art in invention and our collective zeal for power.
Nationalism, national interests and control of resources are one and the same. Control over water has historically provided an effective means of consolidating power within human societies. Water rights and their abuse reinforce the symbiotic relationship of nationalism and conflict. The phenomenon extends recognition exclusively to members of a given elite or ethnic group. When a resource that is as fundamental to survival as water is manipulated, the result is power in the hands of the ambitious few and the curtailment of basic human rights for the many.
At present, improvements to the allocation and distribution of water through modern irrigation technologies represents a positive aspect of our shift to an increased empathy with our planet, its land and water relationships, climatic zones and ecosystems. We are actors in an ongoing process of manipulating natural cycles through technology, changing the balance of our resource distribution as a result. Indifference to the dire consequences of irresponsible resource management is visible whenever we are confronted with the decline of our natural environment. Ambitious individuals pursue their personal interests today as they have done throughout recorded history, in the face of increasing protest and resistance.
The supporting document "We Are Guardians Of Sacred Waters" is also available as a separate PDF presentation at the Rhythm, Rhyme and Reason Store. To access it please use the link: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Environmental-Sciences-We-Are-Guardians-of-Sacred-Waters-3205914