March 22 is World Water Day

I grew up in a family that said grace at dinner. We were thankful for the bounty of food. We never said anything about water. We would go to the water, be it lake, river, bay or ocean, to celebrate birthdays as well as major family and community events – but we never celebrated the water. We would be blessed by baptism with water, but we never treated the water like it was blessed.

Water is probably the most used, viewed, touched, and precious resource that is mentally invisible. We do not connect the water we see with the water we use in the kitchen, the bathroom, in business and industry, to make electricity, and to grow food. Water is where we go for vacation, it is what we want to live by, it is the liquid that comes out of the faucet or the hose and then goes away. We do not think of how the different waters are connected, nor do we accept and acknowledge that we all live downstream from each other and ourselves. The proverb of “remembering the source” seldom plays in our mind as we use, discard, disregard and discharge the liquid upon which all life depends.

Water is life, health, dignity, prosperity, hope, sustenance, and resiliency. Water shapes landscapes, men’s minds, and people’s souls. Water is an entity, a resource, a commodity, a habitat, and a conveyor of people, commerce, life, and toxins. Water is a marker of seasons and time; water is a solid, a liquid, a gas, and a dynamic force.

Water is our lifeblood. It is precious and it is magic. Out of respect and/or dependency, we need to change our mindset about water from being assumed and invisible to being cherished and invaluable for our planet does not make water, it just recirculates it. All that there will ever be is already here.

So maybe it is not too much to ask that at least once a year we take a moment to think about it, acknowledge it, be thankful for it – and maybe even say “thank you” to it.


Keeping America – and Americans – safe

Based on public pronouncements, one of the key metrics in determining US Policy at present is whether the policy under review will keep America – and Americans – safe. One might hope that this was always a key consideration in American policy development.

Given the goal of safety, I am confused as to why there is any consideration for reducing the EPA’s budget 25-30%, especially in regards to clean air. (1,2)

“Epidemiological studies demonstrated that exposure to ambient levels of air pollutants are associated with low birth weight, intrauterine growth retardation, prematurity, neonatal death, and decreased fertility in males.” (3)

“Women who were exposed to high levels of traffic pollution (emissions from cars and trucks) while they were pregnant also had higher risks of their children going on to develop pediatric cancers, including acute lymphoblastic leukemia and retinoblastoma.” (4)

“In 2011, a study in the journal Lancet found that those who lived close to densely trafficked roads were at a far higher risk of stroke and dementia than those who lived farther away.” (5)

“Air pollution has already been implicated in lung disease and heart attacks and recent studies have suggested that it could also be a factor in cognitive decline with a US study in 2014 showing that people in highly polluted areas were 50 per cent more likely to suffer mental decline. “ (6)

Air pollution causes 200,000 premature deaths in the USA annually (7). That is more than 2.5 times the yearly average of Americans lost to automobile deaths, gun deaths and terrorism combined. (8,9,10)

If we want to keep Americans safe, then fund the EPA and support/strengthen their policies to defeat air pollution. Perhaps when we can breathe safer, we will breathe easier.