by Pam Lazos
When I was born, I shared the water on this planet with just over 3 billion people. Today, I’m sharing it with 7.7 billion and growing at a rate of 85 million people per year, and it’s safe to say that no matter what year, each and every one of those people are going to be thirsty.
Water provides all the systems of the body with the power it needs to hydrate, refuel, detox and thrive. Somewhere between 60-70% of our bodies are made up of water; the average human can only last about three to four days without it.
Several billion years ago, a few single-celled organism started focus groups, formed bonds, discussed logistics, and eventually crawled their way out of the primordial soup. At one time, oceans covered the planet. At one time, dinosaurs roamed the earth. While we’ve come a long way since then, we’re still drinking the same water the dinosaurs drank, and while the earth — bless her terra firma heart — may be making more of it, the trick will be in setting it free from the earth’s core.
Bottled water is big business but that business doesn't necessarily benefit everyone. Water companies blithely pull billions of gallons of water from underground aquifers -- water that belongs to all of us -- then put it in bottles and sell it back to us with no value added — meaning it wasn't altered or added to, just bottled — for upwards of $10/gal. (as opposed to Guinness which has tremendous value added!)
“Wait, what? Doesn't water come out of the tap for pennies on a dollar?” you ask. It does, which is why in comparison to tap water, bottled water comes with a hefty price tag, especially if you add the costs of failure to recycle the plastic into the equation. If you asked water what it wanted, I suspect it would want us all to share and share alike rather than let a few large companies make money off the rest of us on a substance that belongs to all of us.
The Kabbalah, a Jewish mystical and metaphysical interpretation of the Bible, teaches that water is the light of God made manifest on the physical plane. If true, that means water has some serious mojo. The ancient Kabbalists performed a water ceremony, called a mikvah, at a stream or spring as a way to purify the individual. Kabbalists believed pure water, as a physical mirror to the soul could cure all ills, but that years of wars, pestilence, pesticides, and not being very nice to each other has dimmed water's light and left it much less effectual.
The Catholics pour water over a baby's forehead while baptizing the infant in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, a very powerful prayer that welcomes the child into the Catholic faith. The night before he died, Jesus washed the feet of the Apostles at the Last Supper, purifying them so they could carry on with the work after he was gone. Many religions perform ritual washings and ablutions on the living and the dead to free them from both physical and spiritual uncleanliness. You see the metaphysics at work here, right? As a spiritual and religious aid, water is universal and necessary.
That means we have a problem: today, 2 billion people — almost 1/3 of the world’s population, experiences water scarcity and lacks safe drinking water with that number doubling for sanitation. By 2040, we’ll have just over 9 billion people on the planet and the constant struggle of agriculture vs. energy needs vs. personal water usage will create dire water shortages for the planet.
According to the February 2012 report by the U.S. Intelligence Community Assessment of Global Water Security, by 2030, the world’s water needs will exceed capacity by 40%. This means that water - or rather, the lack of water — will be come a threat to peace and global security.
So what to do? Rather than say “the problem is too big; there is nothing I can do,” say, “Be like water.” By aligning ourselves with the essence that is water, you change the game. Water is fluid. Water is cleansing. Water is buoyant, and intuitive, and multi-dimensional. Water is ubiquitous. Water is life. Water knows how to heal itself and, intrinsically, you do, too.
We always hear talk of a carbon footprint, but rarely do we consider our water footprint? How much water does it take to make that hamburger you are eating? (About 1,799 gallons per pound, actually. ) And consider this: the U.S. could reduce its dietary water requirements by 37%/day simply by halving our consumption of animal products.
Reducing our consumption of beef and other water-intense foods, increasing production of crops that require less water to grow, eating a more plant-based diet — rice and beans together make a complete protein — employing better technology in agriculture such as drip irrigation, hydroponics and aquaponics, and practicing crop combining growing practices, to name few, increase our chances of having today’s water available to drink tomorrow.
Meditate on the blessings of something seemingly so bountiful, yet so at risk, and decide on what steps you might take to ensure water remains here -- in good standing -- for many generations to come.
You can start by boycotting those single-use plastic water bottles water and buying yourself a reusable one.