Monday, August 29, 2011

#64 of 100 Simple Suggestions... Drink more tap water

Depending on your size, your body is made up of somewhere between 55 and 78% water, says Wikipedia. If that's the case, this suggestion makes a lot of sense. Drinking water is probably the simplest thing we can do to maintain good health, because we need water to remove toxins from our bodily systems. Being just 2% dehydrated can impair our physical and mental function; it only takes 15% dehydration for a person to die of thirst.

And now for a brief commercial interlude:

The Horn of Africa is a place where the necessity of water is a critical issue at the moment. A few weeks ago, the only thing on the news was how drought and resulting famine have brought the region to its knees in pleas for help for our starving and suffering brothers and sisters there. But as with so many of these crushingly devastating stories, it seems that bad-news-fatigue has set in, journalists have turned elsewhere, and we haven't been hearing much about Africa lately, or about how we can be involved. So before I go any further, I'm going to put in a little plug for the best organization I know of that is working in the region. Development and Peace is an arm of Caritas International, which has workers on the ground in crisis spots all over the world. As I understand it, CI's overhead seems to be pretty low because it employs people in each region to work for their community's welfare rather than sending in "outsiders" to deliver aid, so of all the agencies that are working to alleviate the suffering in Africa, I choose to support Caritas International through Development and Peace. It works for me. I hope everyone finds a way to help that works for them!

Now back to our program.

My husband and I have raised our kids to be water drinkers from their early days. When I was small, fruit juices were for special occasions only, and that carried over into the life of my own family. I suspect that's part of the reason that our girls haven't yet had any fillings or other issues with their teeth. Water is the simplest and possibly healthiest way to satisfy thirst, though we know it's not as pure as it used to be. But these days, everything else we can drink has additives that aren't necessarily healthy either, or preservatives for a long shelf life.

(Small digression (it's a day for them) -- My sister just sent me a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon. Calvin is holding a bottle of soda pop, saying, "In the commercials, this soda greatly increases one's sex appeal." Hobbes looks on as Calvin chugs it down, then emits a large "BUR-UR-URP!!" Hobbes says, "Evidently, a little license on Madison Avenue's part," as Calvin mutters, "Phoo! Right up my nose.")

In most places in North America, we are fortunate to have good drinking water, often filtered or treated through systems paid for by our municipalities or federal projects. It's only been since a company for selling Evian water was formed in 1829 that bottled water has become marketing's version of "The Emperor's New Clothes," a status symbol of sorts. Remember the uproar a few years ago when it was discovered that a particular brand of bottled water was actually straight out of Calgary's taps? The drink of the elite was the same as that of commoners!! Of course, it costs more for a litre of bottled water than a litre of gasoline... and in many parts of the world, bottled water has become a justice issue as large companies have privatized water sources and forced people to pay for their right to drink water. In the last few years, Development and Peace has developed an anti-bottled water campaign designed to make people aware of the follies of bottled water. Here's one of their little ads:


And if you want to take D&P's pledge to make your life a bottled-water free zone, you can do that here. There's also more info on the Development and Peace website about their campaign. I don't know about you, but I'm interested in keeping a billion plastic bottles out of our waste stream, especially when I consider that it takes three bottles worth of water just to make one of those darn plastic bottles! And let's not forget the carcinogenic toxins that leach out of that plastic into the water it contains!

Bottled water is an ecologically unfriendly fad that has mostly had its day, but water is still important to life. So to do something good for ourselves, our brothers and sisters in the developing world, and the planet, let's avoid the use of bottled water by carrying our own water bottles with us or by drinking from our taps, and take advantage of the true pause that refreshes!

P.S. Looking for more Simple Suggestions? Try here.

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