Friday, October 15, 2010
Be water, my friend
Earlier this year, I remember reading an article about how little we (as humans) know about water. It is an elusive topic and one that is being brought to the forefront as Blog Action Day 2010 kicks off. Water covers nearly three-quarters of the earth's surface, yet it remains a mystery. Space travel is like a thing of the past, yet what lies beneath the ocean continues to daunt scientists.
Water is so versatile. It can soothe, it can refresh, it can relax, it can clean, it can power. Water is also dangerous. It can flood a village, it can freeze onto roads, it can rush onto beaches and it can sink a ship. Water can also be completely breathtaking and it can provide energy. Yet somehow, despite its faces, water is essential for each of us. Unlike manufactured beverages like soda and wine, water requires no other ingredients—it is the way it is. Every creature requires water to survive and water is part of nearly every aspect of our lives.
Perhaps that is why it is a shame that we know so little about it. Statistics float to the surface every now and then—did you know that we use less than 1% of the world's available water? —but it seems that nothing ever comes out of them. There are still more than 800 million people worldwide that do not have access to healthy, clean drinking water. The majority of water on Earth is found in the oceans. Although costs of desalination are decreasing, it is still rather expensive to convert salt water to drinking water—and that does not work for the poor countries that need water the most.
How can we know more about water? What will truly raise our awareness of what it is? We gain so much from our oceans, rivers and lakes. We (as humans) are also not the only ones that need and use water. The sea life that inhabits Earth's waters are also affected by our knowledge. This great balance that water provides to the other elements is responsible for our survival and if we are to survive, I believe we should learn more.
Though I continue to talk about learning more about the world's water, I don't want it to seem like we are completely uninformed. However, while many aspects of life are placed on pedestals—oil consumption and energy, technology, and "green" living/sustainability—water is always pushed to the background. Projects to provide drinking water or to advance our knowledge of water generally fail or are underfunded. However, efforts are being made to remedy this fact and providing water to poor countries can be accomplished. By signing the petition to build an International Water Treaty providing everyone in the world with clean water, you can take action.
For more information about water, visit Water.org. If you would like to know more about Blog Action Day 2010 and how you can be involved, visit BlogActionDay.org.