Friday, September 9, 2011

The Mystery of Water

The Mystery of Water
Many people regard water as a bland and boring drink, existing in such abundance as it does without causing a fuss; it’s always there, quite literally, ‘on tap’. So water is tasteless, and we enhance it by adding artificial flavours and sugars, mixing it with coffee or tea, or turning it into beer – great with pizza! We even see water as ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ and change it with machines like water softeners. It is the ultimate irony that this abundant fluid is seen as bland. We see things like water as neither rare nor precious, but generic and unimportant.
But think about water for second – or perhaps a bit longer. Contemplate what it is and you’ll find answers to the mystery of life. The human body, for instance, is comprised of roughly 65% water, and we can dehydrate quickly and easily. Without water, there can be no life on Earth, and evolution would not have occurred without this special substance.

The Composition of Water

Arguably the most famous chemical formula on earth is H20. This translates into two hydrogen molecules and one of oxygen. The essence of water is truly molecular. But look at where these molecules originate from and you’ll find that water is not bland and boring, but can be traced back to cataclysmic events that shaped the universe. Hydrogen, for example, is the primary fuel of stars.
Water is also extremely flexible. It can exist in three forms: a solid, a liquid and a gas – or, you could argue, in strong to weak states. The Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu, once said, ‘in the world there is nothing more submissive and weak than water. Yet for attacking that which is hard and strong nothing can surpass it’. How relaxing is a warm bath, yet how destructive is violent tsunami?

We need water

Needless to say, we should respect water, and to do so would be to respect our very humanity. There are far too many contaminants, pollutants and chemicals that ravage our water supplies in urban environments. The EPA, for example, sets out rigorous standards for water safety, but these are all too frequently ignored.
The next time you grab a glass and fill it with water, don’t see it as bland and boring; see it as a wonder of the universe, or a wonder of earth and life. Let’s drink to life. Cheers!

Further resources about water can be found here:
·         Philip Ball’s H2O: A Biography of Water is a great introduction to water and its importance
·         The EPA website, United States Environmental Protection Agency
Post provided by guest blogger: Paul Gardner

My thanks to Paul for sharing his thoughts on

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