Miami hosts conference on clean water – Oxford Observer


Do you truly know if the water you drink is safe to consume? Many of us take for granted the cleanliness of the water we drink on a day-to-day basis, but in many areas of the world, including our own country, water is not as easily accessible nor is it safe to drink.

New Jersey was the first state to introduce water disinfection in the United States in 1908. The goal was to decontaminate community drinking water, a goal that was quickly adopted by thousands of other cities across the country after success in New Jersey. 

The advent of clean water prompted a dramatic decrease in the number of infections from diseases like cholera and typhoid and established an improvement in the quality of water, sanitation and hygiene. The ability to decontaminate water was marked as one of the greatest achievements of the 20th century. 

Last month, the Western Center at Miami University hosted a virtual mini-conference as a part of its ongoing education on water. The conference invited professionals to talk about the importance of water both culturally and environmentally as a part of the United Nations’ World Water Day activities. The event focused on “global accessibility to clean water, needed for drinking/sanitation and ecosystem biodiversity support, in the context of climate change.”

Several speakers, including the event’s keynote speaker, Judith LeBlanc, are descendants of Indigenous tribes with connection to the Myaamia tribe who resided in the area that is now Oxford. The connection to past traditions is what is needed to begin an understanding of the importance of water to all life on earth, said LeBlanc. 

“In this moment of water crisis, climate chaos, gatherings such as these are so necessary to raise concerns, to raise consciousness and actually study what is working,” LeBlanc said. “Water has become a commodity bought, sold or controlled by few without consideration on the impact on culture or land.”

Diseases are not the only substances…