We talked about the air, and the forests as fundamental conditions to make our planet liveable. Yet, there is a third crucial one which we take too often for granted, water.
Water is life, not only consist our planet 70% water, our body does contain 60%. Water makes the world go around, makes our body move and our soul thrive. Water is the blue gold, wars are fought for water.
Taking water away, takes life away.
We learned to wash our hands during Covid-19: running water and soap. We took it for granted. However, 1 in 3 people have no access to safe drinking water. When Covid-19 started, various volunteers all over the world started distributing water, in buckets on the back of a motorcycle, in tanks, in bottles. Access to potable water is one of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, but we’re not there yet.
Life and Dead
Water means life to the planet and to us. We use it to drink, to grow crops and raise animals, to wash and clean, flush bacteria and viruses away, and even to create pleasure and joy. To get peaceful while meditating, or to get active while swimming. Even to create electricity, although this isn’t always sustainable.
Unfortunately, human interventions have turned life into a source of dead as well.
Contamination and pollution have made various water sources undrinkable. Climate change has not only forced the sea levels to rise and inundate coastal areas and islands, but it has resulted in increased extreme weather events as well, from prolonged periods of drought to intensified hurricanes, storms, and precipitation.
Droughts dry up life, while intensified storms inundate life. Flooding is even worsened by our disrespect for water-flows, by damming and cutting them off, by covering the soil that could absorb the water with concrete, by taking away natural buffers such as mangroves and forests that could keep the soil together.
This doesn’t only prevent nutrients from washing off, and leaving the soil infertile, but as well from washing pesticides and fertilisers into the rivers and oceans. Moreover, when soil is loosened because of deforestation and water flows in large quantities over it, it takes the soil with it. The resulting mud flows take all life with them. There is nothing that can stop a mud flow from going, nothing will be left on its path.
The term blue gold doesn’t only refer to the value water has to life directly; it refers a well to the greed of humans.
Greed for possession, resources, and power. Various countries depend on the same waterflow, such as the Mekong river that springs in the Himalaya and meanders out of there through China, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and eventually Vietnam to meet the ocean. All these countries depend on the Mekong river for potable water, for fish, for watering their crops and animals, for drinking and cooking, for cleaning and washing, for entertainment and electricity.
The Mekong is their shared source of life, and their shared responsibility.
But they suffer. All of them want their share, but some take more than others, endangering not only the life of the Mekong, but each other’s lives as well.
Waterflows serve a lot of time as border, which sometimes brings safety and security, other times it is precisely a source of conflict, such as the river flowing between Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
There is conflict about water all over the world, the conflict around the Lake Aral for instance, or what about the Death Sea in Israel which is drying up, because its water sources are cut off. The list could be long, but I hold it here for now.
As water can be a source of life and death, a source to divide and unite, we must admit how crucial water is to all of us. Crucial to our basic needs, and our secondary needs. Crucial but fragile, since not all of us have access to water, let alone to drinkable water. Fragile but precious, since some companies and countries have found a way to use it as a means of power, not only to empower their selves, but to make others powerless as well.
We don’t need more struggles for power in a world where even the superpowers are fighting to reposition their selves and were enough conflict is going on. We don’t need more struggles for water in a world where water is already a scarcity, which will explode under climate change.
The universal need for water can be a chance to unite us.
Act local, think global – the three C’s
Consider your own water consumption, and know with every litre potable water you flush through the toilet, there is a litre less for someone to drink. With every litre of water, you use to wash your car, there is a litre less for someone else. Every litre of water spilled when water is there, will be the litre of water you’ll long for in periods of drought.
Care for the water flows by allowing the water to flow naturally. Don’t allow rivers or waterflows to be dammed or cut off as such that they our disbalanced, and they don’t have a place to flow to, so flooding their surroundings is their only way out. Care for the water by not pollution and contaminating it, no country, no company, no individual. Care for the water by restoring its natural defenders, forests and mangroves.
Practice Critical awareness of the impact of climate change on water, in terms of droughts and flooding, not only mitigate climate change, but adapt as well. Practice critical awareness of the power that flows with water, be aware of the ones downstream and upstream, and especially about our shared responsibility and vulnerability.
Water means life and death; we are the ones making the choice. Life connects us all, it divides us and unites us. Water is our shared responsibility and vulnerability. We are all accountable.
This article is part of the series of Hope in Times of Corona. Read
- How this too shall pass
- how this times of self-isolation should not mean loneliness,
- how you can contribute to this battle,
- how gratitude lights up the dark,
- how united we will stand strong
- on the most util strategy in awake of a crisis
- how I got blown of my feet as well, but caught by many caring hands,
- how being calm can get us through the storm.
- about Love in Times of Corona
- how to discover your own talents
- why we need stories to hold on to
- how you can be creative and innovative.
- how to spend your mot valuable assets in times of Corona.
- how to listen to the sound of silence.
- How breath taking Corona really is.
- discover the other freedoms Corona has shown us,
- about the new-born freedom Corona gave us.
- about another way to exceed your personal bubble.
- about the position of nature in this entire story
- about nature bouncing back
- about the crucial choice between resilience and resistance
- about the game to play
- about star gazing in dark times
- About looking for Meaning
- About how Music Connects
- about what Easter and Corona have in Common
- About the Shark and the Turtle
- About the Irony of Distance
- Why to Hold on
- Fake News
- about The Big Unknown we live at
- about Feeling Alive
- About turning obstacles into opportunities
- about what the Birthday of my nephew learned me about life
- About where we should go from here?
- About coping with incertitude
- About the Great War and the Great Pandemic, and we should not forget
- about history’s most important message, echoed by corona
- How one country could rule them all
- About how to prevent the next Green Pandemic
- about how we are experiencing a new episode of our history books
- about when the poppy flowers
- about what’s in a number
- masks off, how a friend in need is a friend indeed
- What’s Next. after we flattened the curve?
- how will our personal story look like in a post-corona world?
- why we should never let a good crisis go too waste.
- How Spring can happen in Autumn
- How to unlock the lockdown
- Why education matters
- How we can give meaning to the meaningless deaths. (rethink health care)
- The remarkable marketability of health, or not?
- the remarkable rewards of health
- The queeste for global health care
- Health Heroes
- Pains and Gains
- Solidarity 3.0
- Work-Life Balance
- Home sweet home
- Real Connections
- Leadership 3.0
- gratitude 3.0
- Respect 3.0
- Humanity 3.0
- Change Management
- Economic Catharsis
- To consume or not to consume?
- Travel the world, travel your heart
- Barrels of Life
- People, no Number Management
- Back to the Office?
- Those jobs …
- Economic Growth or Green Growth
- Global trade, global fate
- Act local, think global
- A changed climate for Climate Change
- Love is in the Air
- From Fatamorgana to Oasis
- From Covid-19 to Forest Fire
- 5 Shades of Fossil Fuels
Or wait until tomorrow, when I’ll shine another light on yet another positive corner of this dark time.