I am a water person. Growing up on the shores of a
Yesterday, I went for the last swim of the season at the local community pool. It was a cloudy day, not the type that attracts a lot of pool-goers. Which was just fine with me. I love when the pool is quiet, free of the screams of delight and the “wake” from people jumping off the side into the lane where I swim laps.
As I glided through the water, I couldn’t help but think how cool and refreshing and comforting it felt. Cool water is better for swimming laps. It feels faster somehow. But I also began to think about the trouble that water (or lack thereof) has caused this year. As I was swimming, people in states from
Meanwhile, areas in the south like
Occasionally, there are news reports of the extreme drought in the Horn of Africa, especially all the starving refugees from
Check out the graphic at this website (http://www.theglobaleducationproject.org/earth/human-conditions.php) to get a sense of the number of people who don’t have “reasonable access to safe drinking water” (defined as the availability of at least 20 liters per person per day from an improved source within 1 kilometer of the user's dwelling). How many of us would walk this far for drinking water when we can just carry our little plastic bottles around? Sigh. Do you feel at least a little guilty if you water your lawn or wash your car? I do neither.
Only 1% of the world’s freshwater (~0.007% of all water on earth) is accessible for direct human use. "Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink" says Samuel Taylor Coleridge in the The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Yet in this state (and others), millions of gallons of water are mixed with unsafe chemicals and blasted down into the Earth to release tiny bubbles of methane gas. Yes, we are willing to sacrifice molecules that are essential to life, H2O, to extract some more fossil fuel. And who says we aren’t addicted to oil and gas?
Recently, while discussing the protests in Washington D.C. about the tar sands pipeline (a protest really about climate change and the President's broken campaign promises), my students asked if there was any issue that would cause me to engage in civil disobedience. Without hesitation I replied, "..if they ever were to start piping water from Lake Superior to the southwest."