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Sacred Waters

If I were called in / To construct a religion / I should make use of water, wrote the English poet Philip Larkin in 1954—and most religions do.

Waters, religious historian Mircea Eliade explained in the 1950s, are “spring and origin, the reservoir of all the possibilities of existence; they precede every form and support every creation.” So it has been since human history began and, by legend, before. The world, Genesis says, was brought to life by a God who created a “firmament in the midst of the waters.”

Babylonians believed in a world made from a commingling of fresh and salt water. Pima Indians have said Mother Earth was impregnated by a drop of water. The cataclysmic flood that destroys a civilization is also an aqueous archetype and part of Hebrew, Greek, and Aztec cultures. Read more

Water Towers

“One morning as I lifted off from my local airport into perfectly clear skies, I could see these water towers (long a favorite subject) protruding from a rapidly receding cloud bank ten miles east,” writes John English, who took this photo and shared it on our Your Shot community. Read more

Why Water Matters

Though it may seem like a no brainer, it turns out water matters a lot.

Why does water matter?

It seems like a silly thing to ask, because of course it matters. We’re made of it, we’re surrounded by it, we consume it and grow with it. Water is a necessity of life. Obviously.

So why is it that 663 million people don’t have access to clean water?

Why is it that 946 million don’t have access to proper sanitation?

Why does access to clean water matter? Because without it, billions of hours are wasted walking to streams and tributaries. Without clean water, economies are stunted and families are crippled. Millions of young girls and women are forced out of school. Countless stomachs are unfed.  Read more

Waking up to America’s water challenges

The US is experiencing unprecedented droughts and water shortages. What to do?

For someone in the United States who is used to unlimited and practically free access to tap water at any time, until recently, the idea of a water crisis likely conjured up images from far away places.

In the last few years, however, the issue of water has come home to America: from unprecedented droughts in Texas and California, to shortages in Atlanta, to turning off the tap to thousands of residents of Detroit who couldn’t pay their water bills. Now the question is: What do we do about it?

Last week, more than 90 experts from industry, academia, environmental state agencies and the non-profit world met at Columbia University for the first annual “America’s Water” event, organized by the Columbia Water Center and sponsored by the PepsiCo Foundation, to discuss crises and opportunities and to develop a future plan for collaboration. The America’s Water initiative aims to build a network of experts across sectors to develop a research agenda that will inform water infrastructure improvements in the United States through innovative management solutions, new technologies and new policies. Read more

Why It’s Important To Drink More Water At Work

It’s no surprise that we spend the majority of our waking lives at work. The average person will spend around 90,000 hours at their workplace in their lifetime. When it comes to our health, it isn’t always our main priority especially at work, while we’re sitting at our computers or moving from meeting to meeting. Getting through our daily workload will always be at the forefront of our mind.

In Japan, where people work the longest hours – on average 60-70 hours a week – around 10,000 people drop dead at their desks a year, a phenomenon known as “karoshi”.[1] This only highlights the need to look after our health, and one of the most common health issues at the work place is dehydration. Read more