Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What Clean Water Means to Me

The question of the night is if/how is clean water important to me? That really needs to be broken up into two separate issues. If/how is clean drinking water important to me and if/how is a clean and usable harbor/ocean/lake important to me? Those are two very different answers.

When I was growing up, clean drinking water was never an issue. To be honest, it was something that I never even thought about or considered myself lucky to have. The market surge in the last ten years for bottled water has been phenomenal in that it was something that my parents would have laughed off when I was younger. Growing up without ever having to worry about your drinking water is like growing up never having to worry about money. You never really stop to consider the people in less developed areas/countries that are not as fortunate as you. When I was growing up I took clean drinking water for granted, almost as something that was a god-given right. Nowadays, I tell myself that I can fully appreciate how fortunate I truly am to have been born in a country/region with clean drinking water, but can I really? Of course not. Having run out of bottled water on a hike or having to run wind sprints for an hour during soccer practice is about as parched as I have ever been. Meanwhile, there are people dying of thirst in less developed or more overpopulated countries. Hell, there is a bottled water cooler about 15 steps away from my office that I fill up my Klean Kanteen about 5 times a day with. So no, I have absolutely no idea what it is like to not have readily available drinking water.

As for a clean and usable body of water to make use of, that is a more difficult question to answer for me personally. As I have mentioned several times before, growing up in the Greater Boston area during the 80’s and 90’s, we were not encouraged to make use of the local bodies of water. As such, I was never a huge proponent of beaches or the ocean or swimming/water activities in general. Sure, I have been to the beach on occasion or gone for a swim in a lake or two, but it has never been something I actually craved. I do have to admit though, it is growing on me. I have thoroughly enjoyed all the trips we have taken so far and seeing the degree to which the harbor has rebounded has been pretty awe-inspiring. Not only that, but seeing so many people out and about, enjoying the harbor has me reconsidering my original position. At the very least, I am open to further persuasion . . . and of course bribes.

If I were to rank the two in terms of their importance to me, I think it’s obvious that clean drinking water is extremely important and should be something that nobody has to live without. A clean waterfront is great and a huge boost to many facets of its surrounding area, but let’s focus on keeping the people alive and well before we try to give them more recreation options.

See you tomorrow harbor enthusiasts,

-Shaun B.

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