Water, the stuff of life, seems to exist everywhere
When we’re caught in a thunderstorm, we never think about a water shortage. On the cold days of winter, men are never in the mood to drink 13 glasses of water a day and women will get a chill just thinking about the daily 9 glasses they’re supposed to drink according to recommendations from the Institute of Medicine.
Water is no longer the favorite it used to be in our nation now fixated on soda, diet soda and energy drinks. Unfortunately, for many in the United States, water is just plain boring.
When we focus on places outside the United States, water is more precious than diamonds. Worldwide, over 1 billion men, women and children do not have enough safe, clean water that is easily obtained and necessary to prevent illnesses and an early death. In many countries of Africa, 80 percent of the world’s health problems result from contact with contaminated water.
Sufficient quantities of fresh water have been on the decrease for centuries. Of the 326 million tril- lion gallons of water on Earth, 98 percent is in the oceans and contains salt making it undrinkable. Only 2 percent of the water on our planet is fresh water.
The decrease in amounts of fresh water is a result from climate change in which glaciers, lakes and streams are at lower levels than years ago. Also, more than half of the publicly supplied water in the United States is used in American homes. The amount used in homes has increased in the last few generations.
In countries such as Africa, the major cause of death in children who die before the age of 5 years is a waterborne infection from contaminated water. Even today, not enough education is disseminated on the danger of drinking or bathing in contaminated water.
When animal and human waste are in the water such as a stream, diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, typhoid and malaria take on epi- demic proportions. Lack of potable water can interfere with children’s learning and the energy level of young adults.
Approximately 60 percent of a person’s body weight is water. Drinking safe water helps flush out toxins that can damage the vital organs. The water carries nutrients to all the cells of the body. We lose water when we breathe, sweat and eliminate urine and bowel movements. If men drink 13 eight ounce glasses of water a day and women drink 9 glasses, the body loss of water will be replaced. Usually, drinking 8 glasses of water will prevent dehydration with more needed when exer- cising.
There is a lack of agreement of whether soda, coffee and tea will cause too much loss of water through urination. However, drinks containing alcohol might result in too much loss. A person can roughly judge his or her in-and-out levels of water by looking at the urine. If it is colorless or a very light yellow in color, sufficient water intake is likely.
Water is found all around the universe. On our moon, water is located deep under the moon’s surface and in craters at the poles where sunlight never reaches. The same finding of frozen ice has been located in deep craters on the planet Mercury. Soon, Mars will be shown to have had past lakes of water. Jupiter probably has an ocean on its moon Europa and water on other moons such as Callisto and Ganymede.
These moons can be seen in small telescopes from our area. Saturn has geysers spitting out streams of water on its moon Enceladus. Even the distant planets Uranus and Neptune are mostly water.
Comets are common in our solar system. These are known as dirty snowballs made of dust, rocky material and water. The most shocking finding was the discovery of an object known as a quasar located far out in the universe. A quasar is the most luminous object seen in our visible universe and hundreds of these have been discovered. A distant galaxy has a super massive black hole in its center.
From our planet, Earth, a quasar looks like a star but, it is really gobbling up stars equivalent to a hungry bright object. What makes the discovery amazing, is that huge quantities of water were already there shortly after the birth of the universe. A
ccording to the experts, in that distant quasar, there is enough water vapor to fill all the Earth’s oceans 140 trillion times. This is evidence that water was already present shortly after the universe came into existence at the Big Bang.
The discovery of the most distant water in the universe and the fact that it had formed shortly after the universe came into existence is further evidence that water keeps all life alive and probably is the necessary ingredient for life here and everywhere.
It’s time we make a toast. If we’re smart, we’ll all drink a few glasses of water to that!
Health & Science Dr. Milton Friedman