How tap water changed us

When you’re thirsty, how far do you have to go to get a drink of water?

I’m guessing not very far. In the Developed world,  running water on tap became common in the 20th century. Water is such a vital part of our lives, that it really needs to be worked out before anything else.

I spent a good chunk of my childhood living in a bender, a type of low impact home. We gathered water from a nearby spring to wash, cook and bathe and it was far purer than any water you’ll get out of your kitchen tap.  A bit of carrying for that kind of quality is worth it, I would say, and the act of gathering your own water was kind of… Grounding. In the way that growing your own food is.

But I’ve been wondering how the development of tapped water changed us. I don’t mean in terms of health, that’s a whole other issue. What I mean is how it kind of freed us up for other things. In hunter gatherer times, we were all too busy getting food to bother with much else. When we settled down and started to have relative food security, culture and invention began to bloom.

No other species have a system where every individual or family unit have their own private watering hole. Animals are always trying to survive. We’ve – in places – pretty much got this sorted and have the luxury of going on towards thriving. I always find the difference between humans and other animals so enchanting. It’s that we want to do more than just live and have babies.

We want to grow, stretch, thrive, learn, create, evolve.


3 thoughts on “How tap water changed us

  1. Hmm… I never really thought about the societal implications of tap water before. I always figured the main thing it did for us was to allow people not to have to suffer with water borne illnesses.

    An old friend of CatMan’s has spent most of the past 30 years or so working on bringing safe drinking water to people in the third world who don’t have it. Here’s a link to a talk he gave that you might find interesting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezVxt7TkyeM

  2. Of course, that is undoubtedly the most important effect of it. I just wanted to cover the topic from a slightly different angle (:

    Wow, thank you I’ll deffinetely look at that. I’d love to do something like that one day, such admirable work.


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