It is true that one of our most important values as Muslims is the protection of water. The famous hadith of the Prophet SAW states how important he taught us water is:
Abdullah ibn ‘Umar narrated that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) passed by Sa’d while he was performing ablution and said, “What is this extravagance, Sa’d?” He said, “Is there extravagance in the use of water?” He said, “Yes, even if you are at a flowing river.”
(hadithcollection.com: Fiqh-us-Sunnah 1.032D)
How much does this mandate that we work to protect our waterways?
One of the most high-profile fights of the water protectors right now is the fight to STOP LINE 3.
The Enbridge line for tar sands oil is a clear threat and has a huge negative environmental impact. It crosses 227 lakes and rivers and would put all these waterways at risk from the nearly million barrels of oil that would go through this pipeline EVERY DAY.
Additionally, this line crosses land that is protected by treaties that give the First Nations tribes that live there the right to live off their land, including fragile wild rice that is vital for their livelihood. These treaties are all currently being violated by the work to construct this dangerous pipeline.
Just in and of itself the line is a violation of treaties, environmental safety, and the future well-being of all the communities that depend on these waterways; but I personally feel it more deeply still as I watch the Dixie Fire burn out of control in California. It is so endlessly infuriating. In the face of overwhelming evidence that we need to move away from fossil fuels, as Biden promised, these tribes’ rights are being taken away for even more destruction that contributes to climate change.
The website https://www.stopline3.org/take-action contains instructions for how to write letters and take other actions including joining the water protectors on the front lines to urge that Line 3 is immediately stopped.
Write Biden here: https://www.stopline3.org/biden
Have you given lip service to Native American rights in the US? This is a great way to put your good intentions into action and stand up for the rights of indigenous people today.