I just came back from the newest of London pop-ups, which is unlike any establishment I have been to. Not because it’s oh-so eccentric, but because it’s a bit of a ridiculous ‘trend’, in the always-trendy, beloved Shoreditch in the hipsterish East London.
And what it is, is a water-only temporary bar which serves absolutely nothing but tap water. Mega minimalistic! What I find mad is that it was promoted as a bar; I suppose that’s what it takes now to get people’s attention: something so off-beat. Hey, who am I to talk, it got my attention for a number of reasons:
- it’s minimalistic to the extreme
- it’s a free/frugal evening out (all Londoners love a cheap outing, admit it! -because they’re rare)
- it’s calorie-free, and
- it’s for a cause that involves just something that’s on my agenda to discuss: WATER ISSUES.
Just in time for World Oceans Day, so take the plunge with me:
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About the oceans
Going back to the basics:
- Life on planet Earth exists because there’s liquid water on its surface. A strong enough point on its own.
- Life began in the ocean.
- The planet is made up of approximately 70% water. And, guess what: so is the human body.
- The relative concentrations of sodium, potassium, and calcium in our bodies are in very similar proportions to those found in seawater, though the actual concentrations are less (source).
Generally speaking, large bodies of water such as oceans and seas are large heat accumulators, which have a stabilising effect on thermal regime and climate on Earth by releasing the precipitation to the atmosphere.
Thus, environmental sustainable management of coastal and marine ecosystems is crucial for the healthy functioning of our entire planet, not just the big blue.
Rapid buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are leading to ocean temperatures rising and to acidification, as greenhouse gases also affect the changes in currents, interfering with ecosystem flow.
..by polluting the environment we are simply polluting ourselves. A clean, healthy ocean is a productive ocean: it regulates the climate, produces oxygen, and feeds people (source).
In addition to that, the various non-biodegradable rubbish floating in the oceans is clogging and contaminating marine life. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, aka The Seventh Continent, is a harrowing case! It’s an island, or a cluster of islands of rubbish floating ‘patched’ and brought together by oceanic currents. According to some reports, it’s a vortex, enormous in size, up to 3.5 million square kilometers, amounting to 100 million tons of rubbish!
These bits of rubbish, mainly plastic are being ingested by the marine life, thus entering the food chain and, eventually, affecting the fertility rate of fish, which in turn affects food security of coastal populations, including ours.
For a vegan, this seems like a favourable scenario, which would, ideally, prompt everyone to eventually stop consuming animal products. But no, on the contrary, the industry is thriving on this. Instead, they are coming up with ‘innovative solutions’ such as 3D-printed foods and lab-grown foodstuffs.. This world is upside-down!
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About other water issues
Oceans clean the water necessary for our consumption and our agriculture uses. They do this by participating in the hydrological cycle through precipitation, evaporisation, infiltration, and surface runoff.
The properly functioning, healthy aquatic ecosystem is seen as a ‘commodity’ as it helps support:
- climate regulation
- waste assimilation
- water purification
- erosion control
- flood mitigation
- nutrient recycling
- freshwater and food availability and consumption
- spirituality/ aesthetics/ education/ recreation
Moreover, the annual supply of renewable fresh water does not change to fit our needs, so we must adapt to it. The amount of water available to each person decreases as the population increases. At present, the problem of water shortage is affecting many regions in the world (with California tooting a horn like it’s the first ever place to deal with this issue), compromising the prosperity and well-being of people everywhere. The growing inequality in the distribution of water is likely to, in the very near future, greatly contribute to international tensions and conflicts.
Each of us must take into account personal water consumption. What you’re probably thinking when you consider your water usage is: how many times a week you do laundry and how full is the load; shower vs. bath; turning the tap off while you brush your teeth, and such. And it helps to be aware (<- great read!) of all the contributing factors.
But now, think bigger:
- agriculture/ food provision and supply
- industry (production, manufacturing of energy and goods)
Well, you’ll say, that’s out of my range of power, what do you expect me to do about it?
Here’s just a few little facts. It takes:
- 500L of water to produce 1 kg of potatoes;
- 900L to produce 1 kg of maize;
- 3,000L to produce 1 kg of rice;
- 6,100L to produce 1 kg of mutton;
- 15,500L to produce 1 kg of beef.
It’s so obvious, I feel silly stating this again: INDIVIDUAL CHOICES DO MATTER.
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I’ll leave you with a thought from Alessandro Baricco’s Oceano Mare:
Tutto nella certezza diciamo nella convinzione che il grande grembo marino possa spezzare l’involucro della malattia, riattivare i canali della vita, moltiplicare il salvifico secernere delle ghiandole centrali e periferiche linimento ideale per idrofobi, malinconici, impotenti, anemici, solitari, malvagi, invidiosi, e pazzi.
Everything can in certainty be said and in the belief, that the great marine womb can break the shell of the disease, reactivate all channels of life, and multiply the secreting glands of the central and peripheral ideal lining for the ones that are hydrophobic, melancholic, powerless, anaemic, lonely, evil, envious, and crazy.