Almost 7 billion people need to drink clean water in order to survive. Agriculture also requires water. Therefore, it has become our collective duty to be active in the protection and conservation of the planet’s fresh water.
That is why the United Nations general assembly held a vote at the end of July of this year, making access to clean water a human right. It passed with 122 countries voting in favour of this recognition. However, Canada was one of a shockingly high 41 countries to abstain. What this shows is that the people must take charge. A place to turn is the Council of Canadians, whose chief spokesperson Maude Barlow is known as a planetary water warrior, passionately determined to stop water privatization around the world. We can act by signing Council petitions demanding protection of fresh water.
We can also participate in collective envisioning. After the BP oil disaster, water researcher Dr. Masuro Emoto told the world about a Hawaiian prayer known as Ho-opono-pono, as a blessing on the world’s water: “I’m sorry. I love you. Please forgive me. Thank you.” Seems to me this is a cosmic healing practice worth continuing. Dr. Emoto’s research has demonstrated that water is a truly magical element that responds to both intention and emotion.
Our personal need for water is addressed in a book by Dr. F. Batmanjelidj, Your Body’s Many Cries for Water. He insists that most often we are not sick, but rather thirsty, and we should not treat thirst with medications. Even drinking plain hot water is beneficial, for it is said to purify toxins out of the body. Personally, I find it very satisfying, even somewhat sweet.
Certainly the most common sweet beverage from nature is our morning hit of orange juice. Yet too much of any fruit juice can lead to gastro-intestinal problems and cavities. Even a baby will need dental work if left to suck on a bottle of juice.
The worst beverage for our health is pop, the world’s most popular sweet drink. I wonder if pop drinkers realize that each can delivers a whopping 40 grams of sugar! The main sweetener is High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) a GMO corn product that requires considerable processing in order to make it edible. Considered by health experts to be one of the villains in our food supply, it is a major contributor to the growing epidemic of diabetes. Yet such health concerns matter little in places where pop is considered safer to drink than the local water, and where people might be easily tempted to believe soft drink advertisers who proclaim that pop is healthy… because its main ingredient is water!
Have you ever wondered where all the water in pop comes from? In India, the Coca-Cola company’s operations have created severe water shortages near bottling plants, causing significant declines in crop production, as well as contaminating groundwater. In Plachimada, where the water became so bad that “even the dogs refused to drink it”, the villagers have been fighting Coca-Cola for years. Coke went so far as to dispose of their toxic by-product, sludge laced with lead and cadmium, by calling it fertilizer and selling or giving it away to Plachimada’s residents. In other parts of the world, mainly countries in Central and South America, Coca-Cola has been criticized for its relationship to unions, with many nasty stories from its bottling plants of what happened to union activists who spoke up about exploitative labour practices. This can be observed online for free in an NFB movie called The Coca-Cola Case. And to learn more about the world’s largest beverage company, go to www.killercoke.org.
Besides pop, Coca-Cola has made sure they provide drinks for all ages and groups; consequently, they also own Dasani bottled water and Tropicana Juice. One of the most powerful strategies we can use in our collective awakening is to boycott a company whose business practices are unethical, and environmentally damaging. As with any cause, each of us is part of the collective consciousness, and it is possible to reach a tipping point in awareness by acting on our principles.
Such conscientious consumer demands have definitely impacted the big business of coffee. In North America, coffee shops know that many coffee drinkers want a fair trade or direct trade, organic, and even shade grown product, and because we make these choices, the growers can have a better standard of living.
I wonder if the latté drinkers ever think about the cows that produced the milk for their specialty coffee. For as with industrial beef production, if most milk drinkers and eaters of dairy products actually saw how most milk is produced, there would be fewer people consuming it. While it is possible to buy organic milk products, the fact remains that we have been sold a very powerful message from the dairy council, that good health requires several glasses of milk a day. Remember in grade school we learned from Canada’s Food Guide that “dairy” was one of the all-important four food groups. It’s now public knowledge that the dairy and beef industries initially created the guide because they wanted to ensure a market for their products. And in today’s culture of celebrity, dairy promoters have turned to celebrities for help – we too can have a milk moustache. But no one ever tells us what milk actually consists of.
Enter Robert Cohen, passionate anti-milk crusader. Several years ago, my partner and I heard him speak to a full lecture room in the Vancouver library. He started by passing an empty beer bottle to the front row, asking people to peel away the label as he spoke, and to pass it to the next person when they got tired, and so on. By the end of his hour-long talk, the label was only partially scratched away. He then explained that the label was stuck to the bottle with casein, a glue-like protein that makes up 4% of milk. Furniture is held together by this powerful glue that gums up our digestive systems.
There are other consituents of milk, such as hormones. Many milk drinkers might argue that if they drink organic milk, then there are no hormones, probably referring to synthetic growth hormones. But that is a myth, because in cow’s milk there are 59 natural growth hormones, including one that is exactly the same as in humans. Adults don’t need growth hormones, and some researchers say these hormones encourage cancer. In Japan, where milk consumption only began after WW2, rising cancer rates track increasing dairy consumption very convincingly. Despite the advertising dollars spent to convince us that milk is nature’s perfect food, which even Robert Cohen would agree on (if you were a cow!) there is mounting evidence that excessive consumption of dairy products can lead to all types of disease. Check this out at Cohen’s extensive website: notmilk.com
To drink milk, juice, pop, caffeine, alcohol, or not to drink? …this is the question. As with alcohol, even too much water in a short period of time can be fatal. Let’s be smarter than Steven Wright about the liquids we drink, who said: “I got this powdered water, now I don’t know what to add.”
Tsiporah is a Gabriolan of 35 years and keen observer of our times and evolutionary potential as compassionate human beings.