Sunday 13 July, 2014 by Uncle Spike
In this post, we are taken on a journey to look at one of the essentials of our very existence, water. Uncle Spike’s special Guest Writer for this week is Liz, or Lizard if you like, who says on her Gravatar page, “Grow it, make it, save it, use it! Trying to make a difference by changing our habits”. As a follower of her blog, and herself as a pretty active Spikey on my blog these days, I am delighted that Liz accepted the invitation to be our first Guest Blogger for a while.
One of my earliest memories is of a dream when I swam to the local sweet shop. Instead of walking as normal, I was able to float and just swim along the pavement.
It was so vivid that I asked my mother if it was real.
As a child swimming was graceful, ethereal and other-worldly and the only sport I could ‘do’.
Water fascinates me. On moving to The Netherlands I decided to learn to scuba dive. It would be a way to meet people and explore the place that I was so drawn to.
As a result I’ve managed to dive all over the world. So many places, so many people, much travel and great adventure.
Water is in my blood. When you go under the water it’s an intense experience. For one it’s three dimensional in a way above water isn’t. I’ve described it as being part of a mobile. On land everything is married to the ground. Underwater you can be above the ‘ground’. That sense of space is really unusual.
I’ve had several dive experiences that really stood out but my first tropical boat dive in the Red Sea was inspiring. The site was a submerged sea cliff. To all intents and purposes the clear surface kept a deep secret. The scenic view was amazing. Unlike an above water cliff where the rock and grass dominates the underwater cliff is more like a florists window. Every inch is decorated with colour, texture and movement. The variety of each element is detailed and complex. Nature at its most intricate.
When I go there I never want to leave.
But water has other features. A waterfall, a rainstorm, a babbling brook, a still reflection, water, amazing water. It moves yet is still; it shines but it’s black. Not only that but it gives life.
We can’t live without it.
A glass of water can help your day improve. It touches your throat. It’s cool and refreshing.
When a plant needs water in my garden it wilts. But the plant still recovers if it gets a drink.
The rain on our street can create grass between the bricks overnight in the summer.
A sprinkler arcing into the air sends rainbows across a field.
The planet we live on has seventy percent of the surface covered with water. Seventy percent! That’s at least two thirds. Yet I’m convinced that many of us don’t give water a second thought.
Three showers a day, flush toilets that use twenty litres (five US gallons) of drinking water to dispose of our waste. The average person in the UK uses 149 litres (39 US gallons) of water per day in a single person household. Yet we are only encouraged to drink a couple of litres or eight glasses of the stuff. 149 litres (39 US gallons)! That does suggest that the majority of that water is discarded very quickly. Toilets, washing machines and showers.
In many places in the world people walk many miles to collect their water.
It’s a human issue in our world today.
Declarations have been made this year to end water poverty.
Definition of water poverty in English:
“The condition of not having access to sufficient water, or water of an adequate quality, to meet one’s basic needs: 250 million more people in Africa will face water poverty by 2020.”
(source: Oxford dictionaries.com)
So basically, in spite of world thought about this issue it’s getting worse. I spend time every day trying to value the access to water that I have. Not only does the water arrive in my house clean, drinkable and in plentiful supply but it leaves via well constructed systems.
Waterworld was a curious movie (click image for short trailer).
A film from 1995 where the world surface was taken over by the rising levels when the ice caps melted. Strangely ocean levels rose up and reduced the access to drinkable water. This is something that we may not think about. The movie was a bit if a flop and it was a huge budget. Was it an omen? Did we hear the message? It’s twenty years later. I don’t think so.
During a visit to Rwanda in 2012, I stayed in a house with intermittent water supply where jerry cans were filled every three days. The toilet had some problems (!) and the dishes weren’t easily dealt with in a strange electric cupboard. It was an eye opening but temporary experience.
I gave some empty plastic bottles to an eager child as they are a good storage option which is better against bacteria in the heat than other types of container. He was overjoyed to receive my discarded waste.
I write this post in celebration and gratitude for water. It may be a simple commodity today and I hope that it remains so into the future. I shall continue to recognise it’s value and it’s power and to respect the importance of water in the world I hope more people can do the same.
written by: Liz (or Lizard)
I’m Liz or Lizard and I’ve been blogging about my garden and numerous other things for about five months now. The focus of my writing is environmental and I’ve always wanted to find a way to write regularly.
I’ve lived in The Netherlands for seventeen years following a move from the uk that was meant to be short term. I’m a bit dedicated to whatever I’m doing and that’s something I like about myself.
The green interest I have stems from concern about the welfare of our planet and human behaviours that disregard the place where we live.
I’m particularly pleased to have been invited to join Spikes guest writers today.