Q.1 Why water?

For me, there are 5 keys to life:
1. Air/Oxygen – without it we would last a few minutes
2. Water – without it we would last a few days
3. Food – without it we would last a few months
4. Shelter – without it we would not last long in extreme climates
5. Peace – without it we are destructive, negative and unbalanced

All 5 keys work best when they are simple, healthy and natural. Using WATER as an example, it is preferable to drink it as nature intended it: unpolluted by litter, sewage or chemicals.

The lower the grade of any of the 5 keys, the less effective they are for life.

The reason I have decided to raise awareness for water is because at a time when we are all concerned about the economic downturn, we tend to forget about the bigger picture. A bigger picture, which Barbara Frost (2009) from WaterAid points out, shows that ‘one in eight people do not have safe water to drink and over 40% of the world’s population live without adequate sanitation. The unjust, harsh reality is that today 5,000 children will die from diarrhoea as a result.’

More people die from lack of sanitation and clean drinking water than air pollution, hunger, lack of shelter or war.

The problems associated with water are different depending on perspective. Take climate change for example, this may worry a child from Uganda because it will mean less access to clean drinking water whereas someone in the UK may be concerned about flooding.

The issues for water are diverse and are interrelated with Climate Change, Poverty, Globalisation, Human Rights, Gender Inequality and so much more.

Our body mass is actually made up of between 50-75% water!! We don’t just need water….We are water!!!


Q.2 Why walking? Why a pilgrimage?

The act of pilgrimage has been around for a very long time, however I have personally been inspired by Satish Kumar.

“We have to have knowledge of our home planet in order to manage it properly. But industry, business, government and universities only focus on economy and largely ignore ecology – this is a great mistake. Common-sense tells us that we cannot manage our home if we don’t know it. Economy without ecology means managing the human nature relationship without knowing the delicate balance between humankind and the natural world. In my view ecology, or the knowledge, should come before economy or the management. It has been said by many wise people that economy is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the environment. Without the land, the rivers, the oceans, the forests, the sunshine, the minerals and thousands of natural resources we would have no economy whatsoever. Nature is our true home and our true capital. That is why I call ecology primary, and economy secondary.

In the face of the world’s environmental ills, how then do we move forward as Earth Pilgrims? The first step is to be true to Gandhi’s wise saying – ‘be the change that you want to see’: no preaching without practising. The second step is to communicate the blessings of this new relationship. And the third is to organise with others to achieve change more effectively. Take heart – being an Earth Pilgrim requires no training, no university courses and no books, simply the realisation once again of connectedness.”

We have to learn to walk before we can learn to run. There is an argument that humans have to return to the drawing board – we have to re-think the way we look at our lives and our social systems.

I decided to wipe the slate clean start at the beginning and by walking it helps in this process.

Also, walking means you have a chance to take everything in. There is time to meet people and talk. As a very good friend of mine says, “take time to smell the roses.”

Walking is also the simplest and most natural form of transport.


If you have any more questions then please email me at: maximlaithwaite@waterpilgrim.com


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