Urgent Evoke

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What does it mean for water to be clean?

I've been really thinking about this week's action part of the mission. Previously, I'd taken for granted the idea of water. I know it's absolutely crucial for life, and that there are major problems with the world not having access to clean water (wherever too many humans are, the water is polluted, by some kind of waste products of either industry or simple overpopulation of us animals). But it wasn't something I was interested in putting much effort into solving. I already am overwhelmed by all the problems I'm working on, as it is! But, I at least wanted to give this mission a try, to consider if there is something near my comfort zone, but pushing my boundaries just a bit more, to see what happens.

First I thought of a new friend of mine who I'd been offering some philosophical counseling to about what he wanted out of his life, and he'd said that he was interested in water issues. So I talked to him about an idea I'd had (for what I'm temporarily calling the Whatworksipedia), and mentioned that he'd expressed an interest in helping out with water issues, and let things go from there. He decided that he wasn't as passionate about water issues as he might have initially implied, but he did think my idea was good, and suggested that I hook up with someone else who might be interested in the website end of the project, and he sent off an email to make that initial introduction. So my small action at least moved things forward in a more general way (as my project will directly help people find solutions to water issues). Yay!

And then it occurred to me that even on a very basic, elementary school level, I have no idea what it takes for water to be potable (drinkable) for humans. Seems like a glaring h*** in my education! And I imagine that many, many other people share my ignorance, as well. So for the rest of my action, I've started what will likely be a continuing (and probably lifelong) mission to understand the very basics of what I mean when I say that clean water is a basic necessity of healthy life for all of us animals (and probably all Earthlings who aren't animals, as well). I've begun asking this, most notably of you folks right here, and I've also asked the people at Ocean Arks International (which I featured in my evidence for the learning part of this mission in my post Nature's Alchemy will take good care of you!).

I really do want to know, and share, the information about what clean water needs to have in it, and what it can't have in it, for it to be healthy for all us living things, including us humans. Because, as I like to say, the only real scarcity is knowledge. All of the building blocks of what we need to be healthy - matter and energy - are already universally abundant, we just need to know a bit more of nature's alchemy be able to get what is needed to where it's needed in the form that it's most useful. And I'm really excited about finding out answers from all over the world, from people who have already asked the question, "What does it mean for water to be clean?" and have some knowledge to share with me and others. So, again, Yay!

If children can easily turn water into art, why can't we learn to turn art into water?

Views: 805

Comment by Ken Eklund on March 29, 2010 at 6:59pm
This is very cool. I have just realized that I have no idea what "clean water" means either, and yes, that's a problem if I want to start making some progress toward getting more of it! Look forward to your further ideas, expressions and explorations...
Comment by Jen Shaffer on March 30, 2010 at 3:20am
I like your final thought, "If children can easily turn water into art, why can't we learn to turn art into water?" It reminds me of one of my bumperstickers "Arte es Vida." The creative process is a part of everything we do be it art, science, or daily living. I think people forget this and need to be occasionally reminded. Just think what we could do if everyone's creative juices got flowing and thinking about clean water and a sustainable future.
Comment by Ternura Rojas on March 30, 2010 at 2:25pm
As a chemist I would answer "clean water is that wihich will not poison the body", the standard composition of drinking water can be found in may places. BUT as a human being, "clean water" for me means many untangible things, for instance: bottled water is not "clean water" at all. The way you put things in this post, it looks simple, as if it was at reach of our hands. Thanks for this :-)
Comment by Turil Cronburg on March 30, 2010 at 2:47pm
OK, and as a chemist, what, specifically, would you define as water that will not poison the body as being? For example, the water that I get to my tap, in the Boston area, has many poisons in it, such as floride, chlorine, and presumably many other industrial waste that they use to "treat" the water, making it poison for us. But every year we get a pamphlet saying that our water is legally clean and drinkable. So in a very simple, tangible, scientific way, can you say what water is supposed to be to be truly considered clean?
Comment by Shakwei Mbindyo on March 30, 2010 at 3:19pm
+1KS. Agent Turil, sounds to me like poison may mean different things to different people. If I drink water will neither make me sick nor kill me but will turn my teeth brown due to florosis is that poisonous water? Many in Africa would answer NO. What would your answer be?
Comment by Turil Cronburg on March 30, 2010 at 3:39pm
I'm not talking about subjective meaning here, I'm talking about science. I'm not talking about what desperate people will do under threat, I'm talking about what the human body actually needs when it comes to water. Is it simply the molecule that is made of two hydrogen atoms for every one oxygen atom? Or do we need something else?
Comment by Ternura Rojas on March 30, 2010 at 3:52pm
From a tangible scientific point of view pure water is a compund formed by hydrogen and oxygen. If you drink this compound you will have a hard time, as distilled water can be poisonous, just works for my carnivorous plant. Besides, pure water tastes awful, you would not stand the flavour.
Then mother nature adds some salts to water and makes it possible for humans and animals to live in and with it (some bottle this water and sell it as "mineral water").
Formerly, you could say that this mineral water comming form ground sources was clean because bacteria were filtered through the soil. Or you could simply boil the river water and you would have clean, safe H2O. This is what can be considered truly clean water. Well, I would add some laboratory tests for heavy metals (mercury, arsenic, and cadmium) that occur naturally in small amounts and can be handled.

Then WE humans got in the way: we started polluting the soil and the rivers practicing mining, intensive farming, oil extraction, industrial activity, waste storage, nuclear power production, etc, etc. Did we really thought that this was not going to blow up in our faces? There is not clean water anymore, as a scientist, take my word. Poisons that you mention are needed to clean away the polluted water that results from our "civilized" lifestyle. We will have to settle for EPA´s "water quality standards" as the equivalent to clean water form now on. It's all about the circle of life.
Comment by Turil Cronburg on March 30, 2010 at 5:31pm
Ternura, that was perfect! Perhaps you could post that answer in your own blog, to share with others. It's definitely very valuable information that the world could use! :-)
Comment by Ternura Rojas on April 2, 2010 at 11:55am
Hi Turil! Thanks to you I found out that I have somethings to share and improve our life! I will post this with more info that I gathered at a water plant treatment visit that I did yesterday.
Please keep posting, we can create together :-) Cheers, T
Comment by Turil Cronburg on April 5, 2010 at 2:32pm
I just found a great explanation of what it means for water to be clean! It's in the FAQ on the Find A Spring which I was reminded of by Scott Douglas Fraser's latest blog post Spring Water - Accesibility for Everyone. (Thanks, Scott!)

The basic idea is that the cleanest water is from underground aquifers, where it's kept cool by the Earth and away from the air, so that it it essentially free of bacteria, and isn't treated with any toxic chemicals by humans. Getting the water just as it comes out from the aquifer is the best way to find clean water.


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