Long Island Water Quality Part 12: Epiphany

By Carl LoBue

Each of the first eleven parts of this series featured a short film showcasing a different viewpoint on the importance of water quality on Long Island. Oyster farmers, the mayor of a flood prone village, a boat builder, a chef, a mom, etc.  Personal perspectives with a common theme around the urgent need to modernize how we manage Long Island’s waters because sadly, we are failing to be good stewards of Long Island’s drinking water aquifers, lakes, bays, and harbors. Many of us will strive to take better care of a tool borrowed from a neighbor than we do the waters that our families, and future generations, will rely on every day.  Recently I have come to appreciate that the plight of Long Island’s waters has not been lost on some of Long Island’s faith leaders, and that the views of communities-of-faith warranted inclusion in the Our Island, Our Water, Our Future film series.

With the inspiration and assistance of Father Constantine Lazarakis, and the congregation at the Greek Orthodox Church of The Hamptons, our latest film Holy Water explores the intersection of scripture and the environment utilizing the backdrop of water blessings that are part of the January 6th Orthodox Christian celebration of the Baptism of Christ.  In his Epiphany sermon, Father Constantine ponders “How can we ask God to bless us with water that we ourselves do not hold sacred? That we ourselves damage and pollute?” He reflects on how we will ultimately answer for how we have stewarded the natural world.

New Yorkers come from diverse backgrounds, we don’t all share the same beliefs or traditions, it is one of our greatest strengths. Holy Water presents an additional perspective to share along-side those of the fishermen, the photographer, and the junkman.  Ultimately, how we each perceive the world is shaped by our individual beliefs and values. My hope is that this latest film inspires viewers to introspectively reflect upon the alignment between their own beliefs and their own actions concerning water quality and other serious environmental issues.  As with all our films, we hope they are shared and used to start discussions about the issues that unite us, even when we approach them from different perspectives.

For more explanation of why a priest and a scientist felt the need to collaborate, and to learn what we are planning next, please read following blogs at www.nature.org/holywater and www.nature.org/epiphany.

To review the entire series of videos on Long Island Water Quality produced by the Nature Conservancy NY and Red Vault Productions click here.