Saturday, October 10, 2009
Water, water, everywhere... but not a drop to drink
Who said Jules Verne wasn't a visionary?
In 1903, he wrote From Earth to the Moon... and it was made into an early silent movie with one scene showing the man in the moon's reaction to the rocket landing. Well, a mere 66 years later, we put a man (actually three) on the moon's surface. (Did you know that one young girl, who actually witnessed the Wright brothers' historic first flight, also saw the launch of Apollo 11, which took us there?)
This happened in less than one lifetime!
We long-ago proved we could do it any darned time we wanted to. Why just last week, we purposely crashed two rockets into the moon in our attempt to prove lunar water exists. I guess, if marketing holds true to its course, we will soon be bottling Aqua Luna for sale by the case.
As amazing as that is, it creates a real paradox of human resolve. How can man's accomplishments, which represent the glory and wonder of our intellect on one hand, also represent human folly on the other?
Having the technology, ability and means to find water on the moon is quite an achievement. Meanwhile, back on earth, every 15 seconds, a child dies from a water-related disease due to lack of clean water and sanitation. One billion people on our planet will never have a drink of clean water... 2.5 billion people lack access to safe water. That is 2.5 billion of our 7 billion population-- about one out of every three of us. The implications are incredible. Really! Kind of puts things in perspective, doesn't it?
We can go to the moon, split the atom, divide one second into 60 million parts, define space to contain billions of stars and be at least six million light years wide, create a memory chip the size of a blood cell (1/2000 of an inch) that will hold more data that ever thought possible, transplant a human heart and double life expectancy for those born in the right country.
On the other, we have never learned how to feed or provide water for all the needy people of the world but have learned how to develop sophisticated methods to kill them. We can create the greatest plague mankind has ever seen, make a bomb so small that it can easily be concealed yet powerful enough to ravage a city, and take everlasting wars to the nth power in our quest to solve a problem. Humankind has an ego-based righteousness mixed with a lack of humility. We have determined man's greater good can only be found from one perspective... ours (no matter who 'ours' represents).
Are we great or what?
The three musketeers had it right: "One for all and all for one." To think that if we are on the lucky side, that's all that matters. Not a chance.
PS: The water facts came from Water.org, a non-profit organization founded by actor Matt Damon and Gary White. Go to that website. It will blow your mind.