My teacher in the gardening school I attended in the 1980’s used to astonish his students by pointing out that 97% of a cucumber consists of water. Even if the percentage with us human beings is not that high, it is still substantial enough to state that we are essentially made of water. Moreover: water is the most critical asset of life. In my corners of the Earth, we tend to forget what a problem water is, because we have it plentifully. Yesterday I drove through half of Finland and if there was not forest around, it was water.
Elsewhere things are different: children of Zambia are dying because the lack of safe and pure drinking water. The problem is becoming acute since the weather patterns are changing. Monsoon patterns around Indian peninsula started to change during last decade to a much more sporadic and thus unpredictable weather conditions. And more is to come, if we believe what climate scientists are telling: in the likely 4 degree + scenarios more extreme precipitation scenes are more likely to happen where a storm passes through a warmer atmosphere holding more water. But also: increased droughts in dry areas are also likely to happen. We know that precipitation has already declined in the tropics and subtropics ever since 1970s. Moreover, Mediterranean, U.S. Southwest and many other parts of the world, including Australia, is becoming drier as well.
But there is yet another aspect of the story: our oceans are becoming a dustbin for human beings. For every square mile of the oceans, average 46 tons of plastic garbage is swirling there, causing damage. Young banking heir David de Rothschild was trying to do something about it by building a vessel made of plastic bottles and crossing the ocean with from San Francisco to Sydney. Quite a feat!
We should be conscious about the water: from the ways it circulates in us to its circles around this globe. Here in the west we should stop the unnecessary use of plastic water bottles. We should ban the plastics altogether from our lives. When you are in the restaurant, ask tap water instead of bottled water, in many parts, as here in the Helsinki, the water from the tap is fine. Moreover, all of us should be somehow involved with helping people in the dry countries –such as Zambia – to get safe fresh water. Let’s every one of us do something about the problem.
Water system is also on our side: recent findings show that ocean system is a much more effective sink to greenhouse gases than previously thought. It is the great thermostat of the Gaia, our living Earth.