Sunday 6 November 2011

Hydrogen Two Parts, Oxygen One

Seventy percent of the earth is covered with it.  Sixty to eighty percent of our bodies (depending on our age) are composed of it.  We use it to clean, to cook, to grow food.  We travel by it and we vacation by it.  It moderates the air temperature.  Its scientific name is H20 (hydrogen two parts, oxygen one).  It is the first word that Anne Sullivan taught her student Helen Keller, signing the letters W-A-T-E-R into her hand.

According to Genesis, God divided "the waters from the waters" on the second day of creation.    Water came before the plants and trees, the fish and birds, and the animals and man.  Water preceded almost everything except for light and the atmosphere.  Humans have always had water. 

Water is essential to our survival:  while we can live for three weeks without food, we can only live for three days without water.  Water plays a major role in all of the following bodily functions: urination, perspiration, metabolism, circulation, hydration and removal of toxins.  Whereas clean water sustains us, tainted water is the second leading cause of death among the world's children.  The cholera epidemics of the 1800's in London, England were traced back to the polluted River Thames.  In more recent years, the deaths and illnesses in Walkerton were due to tainted drinking water.  Anyone who has lived through a hurricane or a flood knows the damage that too much water can exert on civilization. 

We are blessed in Canada to have the third highest source of renewable fresh water after Russia and Brazil, thanks in large part to our Great Lakes.  Australia, on the other hand, is the driest of the world's continents.  African villagers often have to walk miles to reach clean water, given that certain parts of the continent experience constant drought and they lack financial resources to access the water they do have.  In fact, 80 countries face severe water shortages.  As Benjamin Franklin once said:  "When the well is dry, we know the worth of water."  May we use it wisely.

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