Virtual water refers to water being used in one location to grow crops that are then shipped elsewhere in the world. The term was coined by Tony Allan of the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. When a lot of water is used in this way, it can have the effect of increasing the cost of water where it is used, increasing the likelihood that others will not have access to that water - and that rivers and underground water supplies are being drained.
Virtual water is measured by the amount of water used in the growing and manufacture of products traded around the world. Two thirds of the global virtual water trade is in crops. The US is the biggest net exporter of virtual water. We are draining critical underground reserves, like those below the High Plains, to grow grains for export. Canada, Australia, Argentina and Thailand are similarly draining their water supplies for exported crops.
We've previously noted the devastation of the Aral Sea is Russia. This resulted from Russia building massive cotton plantations in the deserts of Central Asia.
This huge virtual water trade demonstrates some remarkably short thinking on the part of much of the world.
Rambling Observations on Americans Today
We have the opportunity to interact with many people on a regular basis in our support and service of customers and prospective customers. This includes people from around the world, but most live in the U.S. It's one of the most interesting and fun parts of our work here at friendsofwater.com. Many of the folks with whom we interact are addressing serious health issues and know that they need to do whatever they can to stop being exposed to the contaminants and chemicals in our water supply. Others understand that they need to minimize their exposure to these health risks to maintain their good health. It's a real pleasure to help people in both categories, and our hearts go out to those with cancer, thyroid problems and other serious health challenges.
We greatly appreciate our customers and recognize them as people who are taking action to protect their health and that of the planet.
We applaud those who are working to minimize the negative impacts we all can have on the environment, including our water supply, by thoughtful selection and use of household products like cleaning supplies - and by reducing waste overall.
We like to think that we and our customers are a part of that sector of the population working on the solutions.
It is surprising to us how many people in America today get so quickly upset about even the smallest of things. We think that the common American lifestyle actually supports our getting upset. We have TV and radio personalities who do their best to consistently aggravate and stir people up. They regularly display anger and disrespect to others - especially those with a different view or background than our own. We have many restaurants and sports bars that have TVs all over the place so as to maintain a frenetic atmosphere. Our politics is filled with the hurling of accusations and inaccurate and misleading statements - only for the purposes of building power and furthering narrow self-serving goals. (This isn't new in politics, but it sure is rampant.) Much of our culture seems to think and project that we need to be absolutely deluged with noise and images in order to stay energized. We favor "calmly energetic" and "energetically calm". Good healthy energy comes from being centered, not flooded with external stimulus.
Many seem drawn to what isn't working instead of what does work, or what we might do to make things work better. Many seem to be more attracted to negativity than Americans used to be. But attention to the negative attracts more negativity. Not that we should ignore what is wrong. But how about seeing it for what it is, and working to improve it? We think that we and you, our customers, are doing that.
All of these things (and more that you could name) add up to a frequent atmosphere of distrust and suspicion - and the acceptance of anger and disrespect as a norm. That's pretty sad.
We also note that some find it difficult to engage in a normal back-and-forth conversation. Some ask questions but don't listen to the answer; resulting in their asking the same question several times. Similarly, people often don't work on solutions, but instead go endlessly round and round the problem.
We have come to believe that one of the environmental issues contributing to these traits is the ingestion and breathing of chemical contaminants. Simply put, some of us act as though we've been poisoned. A degradation of clarity of thought can be one of the results. Some customers tell us that they have been poisoned. The result can be extreme sensitivity on many levels and unstable emotions. Can it be called paranoia if they have in fact been poisoned!? To illustrate, chlorine is a very effective disinfectant and its use keeps us from drinking all kinds of nasty things. But is used to kill living things. Do you really want to drink it and breath it in from showering and from cleaning products?
Friendsofwater.com had a few goals when we started this family business in January 2006. One of them was to treat customers the way that we each deserve to be treated. Of course we too have to work to maintain the standards we aim for. And we do. And we hereby rededicate ourselves to dealing with everyone respectfully. And to treating all those with whom we interact in the way that we all deserve. We can't say that there are never any problems with products we sell, but they are rare, and we always do, and always will, do our best to be fair with our customers.
Be well. Take care of yourselves. Be thoughtful about where you put your energy. Be careful about what environments you put yourself in - and what you take in. And let's be nice to each other!
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Excellent Water Video Site
Check out www.thewaterchannel.tv. This site has a large and growing number of videos from all over the world on topic of water. There are videos explaining wetlands, challenges to the water supply from all over, solutions delivered in Africa and Asia, educational videos in Spanish and English, and more and more.
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Excessive Fluoride Levels in Well Water
Last week we heard from three separate customers in three parts of the country whose well water had about five times the government-recommended level of fluoride. Our theory is that this is the result of our adding fluoride to so much of our water for so long. As reported previously, we now take in 4 times the amount of fluoride that we did when they started adding fluoride to the water supply decades ago. It is found in our food and in soda cans, as well as tap water and toothpaste. It doesn't break down like some chemicals do, so doesn't it make sense that it will accumulate in our groundwater over time?
We theorize that these people are in the newest wave of circumstances where higher and higher amounts of fluoride is found in more and more places. Then municipalities add fluoride!
It may now be that the fluoride found in well water is NOT the natural fluorides that once were found in groundwater, but the industrial waste variety that is added to water supplies.