A Toast to Water

Our survival depends on the one thing we take for granted: water. But that life-sustaining element is in serious danger from climate change…and as a result, so are plants, animals, and humanity. It’s time to stand up and work together, to save our water sources so it can continue to save us.

Water. Dihydrogen monoxide. H20, if you prefer.

It is the life-giving, life-saving, life-sustaining element that makes up nearly 60% of our bodies.  We drink it, swim and bathe in it, and grow our food with it.  

We seek it in destinations and vacations by bodies of water.  Sandcastles by the sea, cruise ship travel, and riverboats give us a view of locales not seen the same way on land. 

It provides peace with its language, whether raindrops on a tin roof, waves crashing on the shore, or the gurgling of its travels in a creek. 

Water provides fluidity in our lives…yet we take it for granted.

Glasses of water in a restaurant are often automatic, and washing our hands after flushing lavatory fixtures are necessities.  

Yet unless we are thirsty, planning a vacation, or monitoring storms, we seldom give this stream of life any thought – until it becomes absent or poisoned. 

Ask the cattle ranchers of Texas. The embattled residents of Flint, Michigan. Drought-stricken areas of our country like California….and so many others on planet Earth. 

Lake Mead, once covering 1.5 million acres, is exposing the end of life – bodies once deep beneath the surface are now visible, and the wildlife depending on its water threatened and suffering. According to the National Park Service, Lake Mead has lost more than 6 trillion gallons

Lake Mead and Lake Powell both are at the center of one of the worst droughts in history. Both lakes, made by man, are reservoirs created by the building of Hoover Dam and the existence of the Colorado river. A far cry from the fishing destination it was, now only one species of fish is left and over 400 species of birds are dying off in record numbers. 

While the drought is causing irreparable damage and the disappearance of bodies of water, chemical companies are poisoning rivers and lakes that are still in existence.

The Cape Fear river in North Carolina may become a literal fear as PFAs (poly-fluoroalkyl substances) flow within its banks and the fish that inhabit it.  

National Geographic reports that, in a study published recently in the journal Environment International, fish tested from this river all had high levels of PFAs, and compared to studies done in 2001 and 2015 the Striped Bass had the highest levels of PFA’s documented in North American fish. Of course, it isn’t just the fish – other aquatic and human life will be affected in turn. 

Called “forever chemicals”, PFAs are found in everything…and unfortunately, they are almost impossible to destroy. Heat-, water-, and oil-resistant, they are found in many consumer products, everything from clothing to non-stick pans. Tap water regularly tested in the state show PFA numbers exceeding the EPA’s recommended limit.

Water, whether for you or your horse, may become or already be an issue – yet another reason why all of us, collectively, must take climate change seriously.  

Some will argue a slight temperature increase is normal. Yes, the climate evolves – and with it, the landscape. According to climate.gov, the average rate of temperature increase per decade since 1981 (0.18°C / 0.32°F) has been more than twice the rate per decade in the 100 years prior (0.08°C / 0.14°F) .

The difference is that this time, it has been induced by humans – and so it needs to be addressed by humans. If Mother Nature filed a lawsuit, the entire human race could be indicted.

This article’s intention is not to spread fear, or keep you up at night enduring doomsday revelations; we know these are anxious times. The intention is for all of us to sit up and take notice – then stand up and demand change. 

To change how we do business, how and what we consume, and honor the very thing that supports life on our planet: water.

Recent bills have been passed into law by the current White House administration to address climate change. We applaud that action, for it means there is hope.  However, it is just the beginning, and will take years of effort and policy to bring about positive change. No matter how expansive, one signed bill will not  bring about meaningful differences overnight, the next month or the next year.

But it is a start. We can, and must, keep the momentum of that intent going.

So, a toast: raise your glass to honor the water it contains, and do your part for the future of water – and life – itself.


Barb currently resides in Central Florida with her three horses; when she’s not writing or riding for HRL, she loves to read and travel. horseandriderliving@gmail.com