"Water, water, everywhere / Nor any drop to drink." - Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Water is our single most treasured natural resource, encompassing more than two thirds of our Earth's surface. It's vital for all of nature's flora and fauna -- amphibians, birds, fish, invertebrates (snakes and other wiggly critters), insects, reptiles, mammals, plants, trees and flowers. Water is critical to sustaining life everywhere, and for everything nature provides.
We humans enjoy water too, by swimming, sailing, snorkeling, scuba diving, singin' in the rain, running through a lawn sprinkler or playfully splashing in what we just assume is the cleanest and clearest stuff we can find. And we love the convenience of turning on the tap and drinking or bathing in it or simply brushing our teeth. It's good to give a thought to the importance of water this week, since March 20 is World Water Day 2008.
As human beings, H20 is essential to our lives and well-being. Our muscles are 75% water and our blood contains 83% water. If we're healthy and hydrated, we keep ourselves at peak performance physically and mentally. An ancient Chinese proverb tells us, "When drinking water, think of its source." And although we know its importance as the finest beverage available, we also selfishly squander it away by unconsciously polluting it in all its forms: rivers, streams, creeks, groundwater, reservoirs, lakes and oceans. Our collective carelessness threatens our species, and animals too, by altering water's drink-ability.
As I write, more than 1 billion human beings are hopelessly resorting to drinking and cooking with unsafe water. The end result is that across the planet, just from water-borne diseases or dehydration, nearly 3,900 children die every day. (Imagine what that frightening number means -- it's greater than the populations of many small towns across America!)
In our own country and across the developed world, in our quest for "whiter whites" and in our nutty and newly promoted obsession with the eradication of household bacteria, countless household items we use day after day contain pollutants that actually endanger our well-being, the public's health and the environment. Think about it: in home after home, when we clean, we are actually adding toxic chemicals to remove the dirt, and then finish the process by sending it all down the drain -- meaning back into the water supply.
There are countless household cleaners and detergents, that, out of necessity, we use day after day. Without even thinking about it, we use commercial products that contain toxins that endanger public health and the environment. By using stuff that's so much safer, we collectively will create tiny ripples that will become powerful tides of change for the good of the planet, just by using natural alternatives in our homes.
Try using baking soda, borax, salt, lemon and white vinegar, alone, or experiment with them together in remarkably safe yet effective combinations. Then, just from cleaning, you'll also become a hands-on global citizen.
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