Reconciliación en mi Río: Stewardship of the Santa Cruz River
As far as urban rivers go, the Santa Cruz in Tucson, Arizona has had quite the meteoric rise to stardom with a world-class heritage project. It is easy to write the story about the magic of the river reborn, but it is easy to fantasize, and hard to face solemn truths.
The Santa Cruz has a long way to go. Urban rivers across the world are facing the same problem: trash. And a lot of it. Trash impacts waterways, harbor disease, and pollutes water with invisible microplastics. Something needs to be done, and at many scales, government policies to clean up or prevent trash pollution aren’t working. So, in a five-month endeavor to seek the truths about plastic pollution in my river, I came across an amazing untold story.
Reconciliation. Restoring relations with the landscapes that sustain you. The idea of reconciliation with nature is not new. Nor is it mine to profess. All My Relations and Interconnection is a central core of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis worldviews and ways of knowing. Some First Nations sum this up with the phrase “All my relations”. This mindset reflects people who are aware that everything in the universe is connected. What is new, is the use of this mindset to insight into action and inspire change. On a local level in Tucson, Angelantonio Breault is leading the charge to reconcile with the lands that sustain us. Reconciliation as a climate solution is harnessing the power of empathy and has the ability to heal our planet, as well as ourselves.
In the face of breakneck innovation and rapid change, I propose a return to self.
This story was featured in our series, Slipping through our fingers: The future of water.