Jala, Sanskrit for Water
Updated: Jan 8
Did you know that up to sixty percent of the human body is comprised of water? The brain and heart are comprised of 73% water, the lungs are 83% water, the rest of the body uses water just not quite as much (H.H. Mitchell). My point is that water is essential to our composition and our life...
Water; is one of the elements of the earth. This compound, that is two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen, has been observed in many ancient spiritual belief systems such as Buddhism, it is used in modern and ancient religions to purify (ie. a Baptism). It is still used in eastern approaches to medicine such as Traditional Chinese Medicine, also seen in Ayurvedic Medicine when determining the doshas (someone's bio psycho-social makeup) and it is used in ailment healing techniques. Water is used in western medicine practices and used in other belief systems such as astrology.
In essence, water is a vital symbol of the life we live.
When we travel, water is often a component of our destinations, agua is often a solution to ailments in our everyday life. Your headache, loose bowel movements, lowered energy levels, etc. can all be influenced by your water consumption or therefore lack of.
Water has been a factor when we were a nomadic species were on the move. This liquid substance has been the direct focus of our past migration patterns as it led to marine food sources, paving a more secure path for these bands of wanderers.
Did you know that you will die faster from dehydration than from famine? Humans can last up to three weeks without the consumption of food but we can only last for 3-7 days without water…
Water is the basis for all life.
Now why am I going on a rant about water? Well think of the oceans as the lungs and the forests as the kidneys of our earth. The ocean helps the organisms on the planet breathe, whereas the forest filters out the garbage in our atmosphere, purifying earth in a different way.
The ocean has an immensely important job: to regulate temperatures, in order to sustain the marine and land organisms and to help stabilize carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. However, the ocean needs to breathe too and can feel the effects of overload. Much like a human under way too much stress; it causes our systems (respiratory, endocrine, neurological systems) to misfire, the same can be said about the ocean.
Unfortunately, the ocean is unable to keep up with the amount of green house gases we are responsible for pouring into it. These symptoms of overload can be seen through the increase in storms and acid rain. This then increases the temperature of the ocean, harming the marine life, spreading diseases and illnesses among certain human and non-human populations...
I am sure you have heard of ocean acidification? This is a man-made sh*t storm that is going on in a substance that makes up 71 percent of the earth we live on. Essentially too much carbon is in the atmosphere, the ocean then absorbs it changing the oceans pH, making it more acidic.
This takes away from the carbonate ions that would be used to create the exoskeleton of many marine species. Instead the excess carbon is converted into carbonic acid. This then evaporates into our atmosphere and comes back down on all of us in the form of rain (acid rain).
I repeat, the ocean is the basis for all life.
Looking at the oceans impact on humans; water impacts our biology and chemistry. It impacts our social structure. To exemplify this more than 40% of the human population (2.4 billion people) live within 100 kilometers (60 miles) of the shoreline (WHO).
The ocean provides food, prevents famine and keeps some communities out of poverty. The ocean provides access to many resources that the world economy needs to survive. Yet the amount of pollutants and contaminates in the ocean, the amount of impact we are having on this resource that is fundamental to our survival, is utterly terrifying.
Bioaccumulation (compounding effect) of heavy metals in marine organisms is worrisome. It is getting to the point where people need to monitor how much fish they are consuming. This is just another thing we need to think about when we think of our toxic load.
I am sharing this because when I learned of this problem I wanted to know how I could help make a “small” difference and perhaps you are in the same boat.
Have you heard of the Great pacific Garbage patch? It is the largest offshore accumulation zone in the world's ocean. It can be found between California and Hawaii. It is estimated to be 1.6 million square kilometers in size. Literally, it is an accumulation zone of floating plastic. I have attached a link in case you are curious. Its literally a vortex of debris and garbage…
So how can we make a difference? It all begins with education and awareness, sharing this information with others.
Then again putting your money where your morals are. For example, I am trying to become mindful of the products I use. Reducing single use plastics, avoiding products that contain micro-beads, avoiding unnatural sunscreens as the chemicals in them stress out the coral reefs. These are all ways to reduce impact.
Then of course being mindful of your waste and recycling habits -- I am eager to start composting to help reduce my ecological footprint even more. Click here for more tips on how to reduce ocean pollution. I honestly believe that small steps male a difference. Whether its leading by example or having a conversation. Becoming aware of our impact on this planet is a part of my yogic journey.
The ocean is vital for our life, for other organisms life’s. Water is essential to our survival, so what are we, as a hyper-intelligent species, going to do about it?