Charles Fishman has a fascinating new book entitled The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water. In it Fishman examines the origins of water on our planet and postulates an all to probable future where water becomes an increasingly limited and precious resource.
[div class=attrib]A brief excerpt from a recent interview, courtesy of NPR:[end-div]
For most of us, even the most basic questions about water turn out to be stumpers.
Where did the water on Earth come from?
Is water still being created or added somehow?
How old is the water coming out of the kitchen faucet?
For that matter, how did the water get to the kitchen faucet?
And when we flush, where does the water in the toilet actually go?
The things we think we know about water — things we might have learned in school — often turn out to be myths.
We think of Earth as a watery planet, indeed, we call it the Blue Planet; but for all of water’s power in shaping our world, Earth turns out to be surprisingly dry. A little water goes a long way.
We think of space as not just cold and dark and empty, but as barren of water. In fact, space is pretty wet. Cosmic water is quite common.
At the most personal level, there is a bit of bad news. Not only don’t you need to drink eight glasses of water every day, you cannot in any way make your complexion more youthful by drinking water. Your body’s water-balance mechanisms are tuned with the precision of a digital chemistry lab, and you cannot possibly “hydrate” your skin from the inside by drinking an extra bottle or two of Perrier. You just end up with pee sourced in France.
In short, we know nothing of the life of water — nothing of the life of the water inside us, around us, or beyond us. But it’s a great story — captivating and urgent, surprising and funny and haunting. And if we’re going to master our relationship to water in the next few decades — really, if we’re going to remaster our relationship to water — we need to understand the life of water itself.
[div class=attrib]Read more of this article and Charles Fishman’s interview with NPR here.[end-div]