Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Dance at Blue Hole Focuses on Conservation and Climate Change

Sister Martha Ann Kirk reads a statement of concern over
the president’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the climate pact.
Photo: Billy Calzada /San Antonio Express-News.
Dance at San Antonio Spring focuses on conservation, climate change

Several dozen San Antonians gathered at the dry source of the city’s eponymous river Saturday evening, using a delicate dance and soft music to draw attention to water issues while also criticizing President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accords.

The event, held at the Blue Hole on the campus of the University of the Incarnate Word, was part of Global Water Dances, in which people on six continents sought to draw attention to water issues. The dance and percussion accompaniment were provided by URBAN-15.

Giselle Luevano of the group Urban 15
performs a dance.  Photo: Billy Calzada /
San Antonio Express-News.
Deirdre Lacour of the Urban 15 dance group
performs.  Photo: Billy Calzada /San Antonio

Two URBAN-15 members stood in the dry riverbed and waved a white and blue banner where the water would be running while others, dressed to match the banner, danced slowly on the riverbank.

The event comes two days after the San Antonio City Council voted 9-1 to adopt and support the Paris Climate Accord. Trump pulled the United States out of the agreement earlier this month.

Sister Martha Ann Kirk performs a water dance by the Blue Hole
headwater of the San Antonio River. 
Photo: Billy Calzada /San Antonio Express-News.
After opening remarks by Sister Martha Ann Kirk, chair of the Incarnate Word Sisters’ Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation committee, and Alyssa Cook, an education intern for Headwaters at Incarnate Word, the attendees gathered around the spring.

“With the global community, we join in the movement for water — clean water for all,” Kirk said at the beginning of the ceremony.

After the dance was over, attendees recited in unison a statement from the nuns, criticizing Trump’s action.

“This decision will only increase the negative impacts of climate change already affecting vulnerable populations around the world,” the statement reads in part. “As one of the industrialized nations most responsible for climate change, the United States has a moral responsibility to continue working with the global community to reduce our impact and support those already affected.”

People sign a statement from  the Sisters of Charity of the
Incarnate Word expressing concern with President Trump’s
decision to remove the United States from the climate deal. 
Photo: Billy Calzada /San Antonio Express-News.
After the recitation, the attendees were invited to take a colorful marker and sign a large version of the statement, the top of which was pinned to a table by a large candle holder that read “compassion.”

Cook, who educates people about water conservation issues, said it is not abnormal for the Blue Hole to be dry. The reading at the J-17 well that monitors the Edwards Aquifer stood at 663 feet above mean sea level Saturday, down from 685.9 just six months ago. It was at 676.7 at this time last year.

“I’d really like people to know that the San Antonio River was crucial to the beginning of our city,” Cook said. “And it’s still crucial today. With tourism, a lot of people’s jobs rely on the San Antonio River, and a lot of people’s drinking water and jobs rely on the Edwards Aquifer.”

The Blue Hole headwaters is currently dry.
Photo: Billy Calzada /San Antonio Express-News
One of the performers from URBAN-15 was Gloria Barba, 67, who said her family is from Aguascalientes, meaning “hot water,” in Mexico and that concern for water and the environment has been passed down for generations.

“Environment has no fences,” Barba said. “I think everybody in the whole wide world should get involved.”

A statement from the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word expressing concern with President Trump’s decision to remove the United States from the climate deal and expressing solidarity with pro-climate stances of Pope Francis was read.  

The article appears in print: San Antonio Express-News, June 25, 2017, A-3

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