Our Relationship to Water

Our relationship to water is sacred.” Dennis Dimick

On 7/20/12 the cover of the USA TODAY reported “Dry conditions plague 64% of the country” & on the same day the NYTimes front page picture was of 2 farmers inspecting parched corn, & their article was titled “Widespread Drought is Likely to Worsen.”

While on vacation at Chautauqua we listen to lectures, Monday through Friday at 10:45 am by various experts. Week 4 this year had the theme “Water Matters” and National Geographic contributed a wonderful roster of speakers. We learned that it is not only our carbon footprint that matters, but also our water footprint.

Fresh water makes up only 2.5% of water on planet earth. Only .3% of the 2.5% comes from lakes, rivers & swamps. One out of six people don’t have safe water to drink. It takes 630 gallons of water to make one hamburger that we eat. It takes 700 gallons of water to make one cotton shirt.

Ocean water makes up 97.5% of our water. Since 1950, 90% of predators in the ocean have been removed. Our coral reefs are quickly disappearing. By 2050 all fisheries will be gone if we continue to fish at the current rate. Fishing is the biggest threat to the ocean.

What kinds of fish we eat really does matter. Try using this list from Monterey Bay Aquarium to help:

water, clean water, water conservation, importance of water, water shortage, water for people, water scarcity

Only 5% of the ocean is healthy. Marine ecologist Enric Scala was very persuasive that creating marine preserves is crucial and will restore health to the oceans. Only 1% of the ocean is protected. New Zealand created the first one in 1972 at Goat Island and it has been a real success.

It should not come as a surprise that “there is another risk as water becomes scarce. Power plants may be forced to shut down, and oil and gas production may be threatened.” (quote from NYTimes article 7/24/12 Will Drought Cause The Next Blackout?) Energy is what uses up our water supplies even more than agriculture.

What else can you do? National Geographic has a Water Footprint Calculator on their website Try it & find out how well you do. Find out what watershed you live in & give them support. I rain barrel & so can you because it’s the easiest thing to do. (Though hose & gravity do not work very well & it really means filling buckets up in order to water….) Take shorter showers….

While there are a lot of important things to think about, water is becoming increasingly important. The peace talks between Israel & Egypt started because they had to solve how to share water. Water is something that stays in the periphery of our agenda, though time is running out……

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