Samar Salma, Ecopeace/Middle East Jordan/Israel/Palestine: Brings together environmentalists to promote cooperative efforts to protect our shared environmental heritage. Seeks to advance both sustainable regional development and the creation of necessary conditions for lasting peace in our region through environmental peacemaking work.

What is water to you? Celebrate UN World Water Day March 22nd

#WaterIsLife! Water is a direct source of conflict in the Middle East, and can also be a source of cooperation. Learn more this World Water Day.

Living in the midst of a major drought in California and spending so much time in the Middle East, I have learned to view water as a precious commodity.

During my time in Iraq from 2003-2005, I spent a lot of time in the western Al Anbar province, where the local economy is based on agriculture, and depends on a dwindling Euphrates river. This river today is barely a trickle since its source waters were cut off by Turkey last June.

It’s no surprise that Al Anbar is fertile ground for ISIS and other militant groups, who have growing influence among disaffected farmers.

Drought is also cited as a leading cause of the Syrian civil war, and water plays a major role in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

We’ve been dependent on the Middle East for oil for decades, but these factors are making us realize that there may be one thing even more precious than oil—water.

Euphrates Institute has been fortunate to partner on our trips with Friends of the Earth, Middle East, an organization that demonstrates how environmental challenges can also force discussion and cooperation regarding shared resources. “Nature knows no borders,” as they put it. FOEME-EcoPeace, also a United Religions Initiative cooperation circle, has brought together Israelis, Palestinians, and Jordanians to lobby for just water distribution, water conservation, and even to save the Jordan river.

March 22nd is the United Nations World Water Day. “It’s a day to celebrate water. It’s a day to make a difference for the members of the global population who suffer from water related issues. It’s a day to prepare for how we manage water in the future.”

Spread the word with hashtag #WaterIs to share messages about #Water & #Sustainability @UN-Water.

We are water. View this remarkable video of a young Native girl honoring water’s place and purpose in us and our world.

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