Drinking Water: Essential For Our Existence

Drinking Water: Essential For Our Existence

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Water, a substance that is so often taken for granted yet is such an intricate part of our very existence. In the essay, Becoming Water, by Susan Zwinger, we are asked to make ourselves one with the waves. But why? How can a substance that has no taste or color be so important to life? Like the bonds people form with each other, water has bonds to all aspects of life. "Let them know in their viens that you both are connected everywhere." (Zwinger, 243). These bonds are constantly being broken by our irresponsible actions. More precisely, by our tendencies to pollute.

Many of us have sat and listened to lectures on how important water is to everything from humans to trees. Eight glasses a day is the recommended daily amount that should be consumed by humans. The human race depends on water for a variety of things. It is used in our hygiene, helps the body to maintain a constant temperature, flushes unwanted items from our systems, and of course provides us with many recreational activities, from swimming to water balloon fights. Indirectly, we are dependent on water because it allows vegetation to grow and animals to live. Also, remember that statistic that sixty percent of our body is water? Without water, there would be no us. For this reason, water has a bond to the human race.

Water also has a bond to the land. It allows plants to grow. In fact, without water, try to get something to grow. You will probably end up with a beautifully dry, yellow looking plant. Many beautiful things like flowers, green grass, and tall trees would be nonexistent without water. Like humans, these living things are also dependent on water. The earth is two-thirds water and one-third land. "View the waterways of the earth as dendritic viens." (239). Water is like a bridge connecting one place to another. "Swell up under fishermen in Viet Nam, caress skin divers in the Caribean, strand a cruise vessel in Glacier bay." (240). Water also has the power to destroy the land through storms. To demonstrate this power, Zwinger asks us to "Become fascinatingly deadly. Travel further north toward the poles, go to the extremes." (240). From flooding to hurricanes, water can change the land and lives in the blink of an eye. This power of destruction is not something to be feared, it allows for the land to rebuild and start over.

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It is like an unbreakable contract linking the land to the water.

I feel that Zwinger was trying to make us realize how important water is by writing Becoming Water. She points out the places which water travels and the things that it "sees". "You have a pulse, the waves, and a metabolism, your food chain." (242). Zwinger makes a nonliving thing take on human characteristics to stress her point. "A personality, a character, a conciousness, and a sense of purpose." (242). I have to agree with her. All to often, we take for granted something that ensures our existence. We allow our waste to be thrown into the our water supplies. Motorized vehicles churn up the sediment from the bottom of a water source causing the water to become very turbid. Some industries even dispose of harmful chemicals into our water sources.

In my home town, we have a lake named Crystal Lake. It is a spring fed body of water so, theoretically it should be relatively clean. On the contrary, the lake is disgustingly dirty. Many of the fish have died and swimmers itch has become a common aliment of lake's many swimmers. The problem has been attributed to the increased use of motor boats on the lake and the increased population that uses the lake. Another example of a water source filled with pollution is that big river called the Mississippi. Have you ever tried to look to the bottom of the river? Good luck. The river is so turbid you would be lucky to see one foot down. Besides the many gambling boats, the Mississippi is used to transport things by means of barges. Barges are very heavy; their weight causes the sediment from the bottom of the river to be churned up, hence the turbidity. Another problem is that things fall off barges into the water contaminating it even more. The Mississippi, like the lake in my hometown, has also been blessed with an ever increasing amount of motor vehicles on the river. These motor vehicles also add to the amount of sediment that is churned up. These are examples of how our society has allowed a precious resource to be wasted. So, after reading Zwinger's essay, I found it to be a reminder of how important water is to my existence.


Water has bonds to both the land and all living things. Becoming Water was a wake up call. It put us, the reader, in a perspective we had probably never thought about. We were able to experience everything water experiences. This new perspective was a very interesting and original way for Zwinger to express her point of view. By making the reader "become" water, she allowed for a first hand view of the importance of water. By becoming more responsible and more aware of problems around us, we will be able to preserve something that is essential for our existence.


Work Cited:

Zwinger, Susan. "Becoming Water". In American Nature Writing. Selected by John A. Murray. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1997. 238-243.


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