Earth Without Water Essays

Imagine your life without water.

January 25, 2011 at 4:34 pm (art, culture, education, environment, ethics, exploring interconnectedness, food, life, nature, photography, random, Writing)
Tags: "Water", 50 Ways to Save the Oceans, art, beach, business, California, culture, Economy, education, environment, ethics, exploring interconnectedness, family, Helvarg, life, Minolta X 700, musings, nature, ocean, opinion, people, photo, photograph, photography, politics, questions, random, sunset, thoughts, video, Writing

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What  would your daily life be like if you had to constantly search for clean water for drinking and bathing? What would life be like without water that came out of a tap every time you turned it on? What would life be like if there was no bottled water? What would your life be like if you had to pay for every ounce of water you used every day? What if there was no more water for taking showers or baths every day? 

What would life be like if you could not swim at any beaches? What if every lake, river, pond, stream was so polluted that it was dangerous to put your bare hands into them? What if there were no more whales, turtles, dolphins swimming in the oceans? Can you imagine such a world?   

I can. It’s easy because that’s the world we are creating for ourselves every day.  We’re  all responsible for the quality of life on Earth–every man, woman and child from the richest corporate executive down to the unconcerned naive child.  Oh yeah, we’re all on this boat called Earth together. No one owns it. Everyone is obligated to keeping it viable because we’re all part of the web of life.  If you don’t think so, then go right ahead and just try living out in deep space.

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Growing up on a poultry farm in rural Arkansas, 15-year-old Hunter learned early on that clean water was a precious resource. He saw first-hand that poultry houses use large amounts of water that become contaminated with chicken litter, and he wondered if there was a way to filter this water for reuse.

Poultry farms tend to have three to five chicken houses, each with about 28,000 chickens. Using commercial filters to clean the water discharged from the poultry houses is an expensive proposition, so Hunter decided to investigate ways of filtering the water using a cheaper material—different types of local soil.

To start, he collected five kinds of soil: sand, red clay, ash, gravel, and loam, drying each sample and testing for pH, nitrate, and phosphate levels. Hunter then filtered tap water through the soils to remove nitrates and phosphates from the samples.

His second step was to collect water samples. Hunter made a mixture of clean water and chicken litter, letting it sit for two weeks before testing its pH, nitrate, and phosphate levels. He then filtered the contaminated water through the five different soils.

Although his hypothesis had been that sand would be the best filter, his experiments showed that loam removed contaminants better than any other type of soil. Hunter’s investigation led to a winning essay in the 2010 Young Naturalist Awards competition. Moreover, he hopes that his project can be used by farmers to construct poultry houses that filter waste water.

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