Field of Science

Water, water everywhere?

We, i.e., most residents of N. America & Europe, tend to take water for granted and use it with abandon.  It’s only when on occasion we have too little water that we briefly take it seriously.  Indeed, if you do not understand this, TPP would be happy to demonstrate by letting you pay his water bill for the past two months (yikes!); can’t retire yet.  So this graphic may help (although it's sort of ironically funny where the water bubble is located!) where all the water has been gathered into one drop.  It doesn't seem right does it?  Earth is considered a “water planet” (Ever see the remarkably silly movie Ice Pirates?  Some pretty famous actors would like to forget this one.) what with 2/3s of its surface covered by oceans.  And then there’s the polar ice caps, although Arctic ice melting this summer set a new record.  It really, really seems like a lot, so it's hard to think of water as a very limited, and widely squandered resourse, especially when seeing a real tropical downpour or the tailend of Issac.   So want to see how much water there is?  The total amount?  Well, there it is, that little blue marble is the total amount of water that the Earth has, the difference between Earth and Mars, between being a planet luxuriant with life and being desolate and (nearly?) lifeless.  Remember too that most of this water is not usable for human needs because of its salt content.  Fortunately the water cycle continues to distill ocean water and dump fresh water upon the land,  where we wantonly waste it with hardly ever a thought about sustainability.  Most people have trouble understanding the fact that one of the world’s most limited resources is water.  And if you are farming or your city relies on an aquafer, it's even worse; mostly it's not a matter of if, but simply when it will be pumped dry.  When are people going to wake up and pay attention? 

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