Saturday, April 21, 2018, was Earth Day.  On that day, over one billion people worldwide (except, perhaps in North Korea) took part in the festivities and most did something “green.”  Since its beginning on April 22, 1970, Earth Day has grown into the largest environmental celebration in the world.

Earth Day began as a protest, a forum for Americans to express their concern about the environment- eroded land, contaminated water, air pollution-all of which worsened during the 1960’s.

So why did the founders of Earth Day pick April 22, 1970?  What was magic about the date?  Truthfully, there was nothing magic.  It was a Wednesday and the founders felt that ‘hump day” would be the best day of the week to encourage a large turnout for the countrywide rallies.  It was.  Some 25 million Americans turned out, almost instantly moving environmentalism from what many considered a fringe cause to a mainstream issue.

Water has been my business for much of my life, and since water was a major part of Earth Day, I’m devoting most of this column to water facts compiled from a variety of sources.

The total volume of water on earth is over 340 cubic miles.

Ninety-seven percent of earth’s water is salty.  Two percent of the freshwater is frozen in the Antarctic and Greenland ice caps. Of the remaining one percent of freshwater, 99 percent is groundwater and one percent is surface water.

The overall amount of water on earth has remained the same for more than two billion years.  The water you drink could contain molecules the dinosaurs drank.

Water moves in a cycle, evaporation, condensation, precipitation, runoff, and infiltration.

Water is the only substance that occurs naturally on earth in three forms, solid, liquid and gas.  It is the universal solvent.

Why does ice float?  Because an equal volume of ice is about 10 percent lighter than the same volume of water.

Agriculture accounts for 70 percent while municipal and domestic account for only 8 percent of water use worldwide.

It takes about 1,500 gallons of water to produce one keg of beer and over 1,800 gallons of water to refine one barrel of crude oil.

Bottled water can cost over $10 per gallon.  In most location in the U. S., tap water costs less than a penny a gallon.  About 25 percent of all bottled water comes directly from municipal supplies.

Human brains are 75 percent water and human bones 25 percent.

Two-thirds of all water used in a typical American home is used in the bathroom.  Less than one percent of all water supplied to homes by public water systems is used for drinking and food preparation.

Americans use over 150 gallons of water per person per day.  Ethiopians use 3 gallons per person per day.

Over two billion people worldwide do not have access to safe drinking water.

About every 20 seconds in third world countries, a child under 5 years old dies from a waterborne disease.

There you have it, interesting to appalling.  You may draw your own conclusions.  If you participate in Earth Day, please give some thought to our freshwater supplies.  They need all the help they can get.  Future generations will thank you.

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