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Mark Terwilliger Theological Reflection

Overview of Ecotheology Travel Seminar

July 20, 2017

Mark TerwilligerMark Terwilliger

Pastor, Countryside Community United Methodist Church

A great irony of this travel seminar is that we drank bottled water throughout our time in Peru. While the United Nations declares clean drinking water a basic human right, it is available mostly to privileged people who can afford it, such as myself. Peru is one of many places in the world where people are at risk from diseases caused by water-borne microorganisms and chemicals. If tap water is not safe in Peru for travelers to drink, is it safe for locals? Do Peruvians develop an immunity that I do not have? And if not (which I suspect to be the case), are they able to afford bottled water? 

Several times while in Peru I accidentally started to brush my teeth with tap water; each time I did this, I reminded myself of the luxury I have at home to drink from the tap. It must seem absurd to those without access to clean tap water that people like me shower, water our lawns, wash our cars and flush our toilets with drinking water. Reflecting on my privilege to be able to drink from the tap, it is all the more bewildering to me that people in the United States purchase and consume bottled water as if it is a basic need, especially considering that our tap water costs thousands of times less and is often of better quality. 

Theological Reflection Accompaniment: Rivers of Life (PDF)

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