Water for the New Year
Keep Movie Villains Out of It
“This is the world’s most precious resource. We need to control as much of it as we can.” So says the villain of the 2008 James Bond film, Quantum of Solace. He’s talking about the freshwater he’s now controlling in Bolivia, forcing the government and general public to do his bidding. (Oops — spoiler alert! For a nearly decade-old movie, guys.) Hoarding freshwater is a great way for villains to control a populace, to such a degree that water is also a key element in Mad Max: Fury Road, as it’s used by the despot, Immortan Joe (what. a. name.) as a means of ruling over his dehydrated, ill people and making them weak and pliable to his demands.
Both were taking their diabolical inspiration from the real world. As more of the earth’s ecosystems are damaged and water pollution increases, freshwater becomes more of a premium resource, and it’s one that every last person needs for survival. At the time Quantum of Solace was released, the World Health Organization reported that worldwide, more than a billion people did not have access to clean water. Which is frightening, because healthy drinking water is a basic tenet of good health. Without it, humans can’t survive, which makes water scarcity a looming problem as more and more of global water becomes non-potable.
Sixty percent of the earth’s surface is comprised of water, so at first blush, it sounds like humanity has water in abundance. But humans can’t drink a majority of that water. The problem is that most of it is salinated seawater, which dehydrates human beings. That leaves us with the freshwater supply, and at least so far, it’s controlled mostly by local governments and municipalities, not monstrous dystopian dictators with a penchant for gas masks.
But because our water is impacted by such a variety of elements, it begs the question: how clean or healthy is the water we’re drinking?
It’s important to think about what’s going into our water — as well as what we can take out. It’s actually disputed precisely how long humans can live without water. Live Science reports it falls into a range that depends on how hot your environment is, your age, and how physically active you are. Basically, the more you sweat, the faster you’ll dehydrate.
Which is why every New Year people resolve to drink more water, even though every year they fail at it. Lucky for them, it turns out the old wisdom that everyone should drink eight glasses of water a day was actually a guideline and not a cold hard truth. Drinking plenty of water has clear health impacts, though. It aids in digestion, helps regulate metabolism, promotes healthy liver function so our bodies can push out toxins, and even helps folks have clearer skin and better overall health. According to WebMD, drinking more water helps with many of the same activities regular folks vow to do as New Year’s resolutions, including calorie intake! All of those are great reasons to say “bottoms up!” to the ol’ H2O.
There are a number of ways people can get their hydration. For one, many foods contain large large amounts of water — think fruits like watermelon and veggies like cucumbers — that also help hydrate us. Contrary to popular belief, even tea and coffee help hydrate you (though, of course, their caffeine may simultaneously drain your water reserves). And if anyone gets desperate or finds themselves very suddenly in the dystopian future, you can make like Kevin Costner in Waterworld and filter the water out of your own, uh, ahem, bodily fluids.
But whether you get your water plain or through other beverages and foods, it’s more reassuring when we know that the water we’re pouring into (and over) our bodies doesn’t contain frightening chemicals or even heavy metals picked up naturally from the environment. One thing people can do to ensure higher water quality is to drink filtered water. If you find your tap or well water has a strange odor or taste, is cloudy or has high “turbidity” (literally that means there are particles floating in it), in-home filtering will help remove many of those undesirable qualities. Give yourself good drinking water while you still can. No, it isn’t time yet to start bottling your water and keeping it in hidden bunkers — what? No, I’m not doing that, stop looking at me all suspicious! — but setting yourself up to have the healthiest, cleanest water possible can’t be a bad thing. But don’t listen to me. Listen to Immortan Joe, and don’t let him have control over what you can and can’t put in your body: