Today, water is the star. Once a year, we celebrate it, we sing its praises, we think about it. Once a year, we pause to consider the ominous and worrying statistics. Then the curtain falls and we move on. On to another show, another issue to be brought to light.
There are numerous problems facing our planet. At times, some of them leave us indifferent, while others are moving but leave us feeling powerless to act. When I imagined ONE DROP, I was first inspired by water. Then I felt compelled to do something.
It saddened me to learn that a person dies every 20 seconds due to a lack of access to water. I did some more reading and learned a lot, discovering in the process that the majority of the problems humanity is facing today (health, education, biodiversity, discrimination against women, pollution) are all connected in some way to water. And while this observation could be discouraging, for me it is a real source of motivation: Knowing that we could do so much by working together is very inspiring to me.
I grew up in a country where water is abundant. I grew up at a time when awareness was overshadowed by over consumption. We thought that the long, quiet river that flowed past us was an endless source. At that time, water, which ran freely from our taps, was an inexhaustible resource that we could use excessively in our daily lives, even for washing the pavement of our sidewalks and parking lots.
Today, awareness of the need for conservation is even more important, yet it remains marginalized. But I have confidence. The generation that is coming up after me is more sensitive to environmental issues and the need for conservation. They are the guardians of the future for our resources. But until then, we must act.
For the last five years, through ONE DROP, I have observed several different approaches to sounding the alarm. There are thousands of us in the world saying loud and clear that we must pay more attention to water. I am neither a scientist nor an expert in water-related issues. I am an artist, an entrepreneur and a dreamer who wants to change the world. I can only draw on my strengths to add my voice to the rest. This is why I would like us to create awareness programs that touch people. I call it the "alternative medicine" of consciousness-raising. That our voice would go straight to people's hearts; that they would be affected by change. For over 30 years in the Cirque du Soleil, I've had the pleasure of seeing the effect an artistic gesture can have on an audience, and it is out of this experience that I would like to see ONE DROP grow.
When I chose to name the foundation ONE DROP, I wanted to express the strength of the individual and the collective. I wanted to express the importance of each action carried out towards the final goal. Through the years, I have also noticed just how much we can rely on the solidarity of communities.
There was the community of astronauts and cosmonauts that rallied around the Poetic Social Mission event of 2009. It was the first-ever artistic event for the planet produced from the International Space Station. There was also the community of poker players who supported the incredible BIG ONE FOR ONE DROP Tournament. But behind all these communities, there is my gang, the Cirque du Soleil employees.
Friday, they will take part in a unique event to pay tribute to water. Over the course of several months, more than 250 artists and as many craftspeople volunteered their time to imagine this original production, now available for everyone to see on the web.
When I see the multiplication effect of all the actions taken, of all the communities that have been inspired, I can only have confidence in the future. The main thing is to make sure water is the star every day. That way, future generations will also be able to admire the long, quiet river.