“Water mingles with every kind of natural

“Water mingles with every kind of natural phenomenon; and more than one might imagine, it has also mingled with the particular destiny of mankind.” (Solomon, no page number). The words of Fernand Braudel reflect mans unique connection to water. Throughout history, from the first Mediterranean civilizations and the ancient Roman Empire, to modern day nations, water has played a key part in the development of all societies. Water is needed for all forms of life, be it physical, spiritual, or mental. People are connected to water not only through vital role in survival it provides, but also a sense of security and wellbeing. But why? What causes these feelings? Why are people so connected to water? Probably the most obvious answer to that question is humanity’s urge for survival. A healthy, active person must consume at least 2-3 quarts of water every day to live (Solomon 17). Without clean, fresh water humans would not be able to survive. Physically, a person can not survive without drinking water for 1 week Another very important connection people have with water their religious views.  Many religions such as; Hinduism, Shinto, Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, have water rituals which symbolize purification. In addition, most cultures from all across the globe have creation stories that tell how life came out of water. For example, the Bible tells how God created water first before creating humans in Genesis 1), which backs up the importance of water’s connection with human survival. Water has also been an important factor in cultural development and the birth of nations. Beginning around the Mediterranean Sea, both inland and island civilizations developed by relying on their seafaring skills for trade and naval power (Solomon, 59). Indeed, as G?ls?n Sa?lamer remarked, “The Mediterranean basin has been the cradle of world civilization since the first settlements in Jericho in 9000 BC.” (3). Because the Mediterranean’s location, shape, and size it prevented opposing civilizations battling for power while providing a way to connect other peaceful cultures (3). Cultures on the Mediterranean’s many islands depended heavily on the sea for survival. Many of the islands were simply too small for mass-irrigated farming needed to sustain an island’s population. This caused the island cultures to develop superb seafaring skills and realize the sea was their key to survival. They learned to navigate their way to societies along the sea’s lengthy coastline where they would trade island material for needed resources such as grain, wine and olive oil (Solomon, 60) Island cultures of the Pacific were similar to those of the Mediterranean. The main difference was the islands in the pacific were large enough to sustain enough food for an island population. However, the problem was a continual growing population. When an island became overpopulated designated navigators would go out sailing in canoes in search of other islands. Because compasses and other modern devices of navigation were not invented yet, island navigators would use the stars, the sun, cloud formations, and the sea itself as a means of finding a new island to populate. This special talent would be taught verbally from navigator to navigator down through many generations (Nova 4). Thus far, seafaring cultures have been very peaceful, content to survive on their own islands and not bother anybody else. However, there were other seafarers that were not that peaceful. Enter the time of the treacherous Vikings ranging from the 790s to 1066. Though they depended on the sea as much as the island cultures did, the Vikings were brutal and unfair to neighboring civilizations. Sailing in their longboats some would patrol Europe’s coastline, ruthlessly raiding unprotected settlements and demanding tribute. Other Vikings would sail more northward to earth’s more desolate and barren frozen land.  These Vikings would travel between waterholes to find liquid water (Solomon, 160). The great Roman Empire is yet another example for how civilizations develop and depend on freshwater.  Ancient Rome was increasing in strength as it took control of the entire Mediterranean. As it became more powerful, Rome built its large, prosperous civilization Population around 1 million (Solomon 87) by the water brought to cities by the many aqueducts (Solomon 2). The first Roman aqueduct was constructed by a man named Appius Claudius around 312 BC. This new, ten mile long aqueduct, and others that would follow, replaced the old conduits that had been the way of getting water for centuries (Solomon 86). At the time there were a total of 11 aqueducts, the longest one covering 57 miles, and all combined stretched an impressive distance of 306 miles, transporting a constant flow of clean, fresh water to the center of Rome’s cities (Solomon 86). All the water that streamed in on the aqueducts went into a large water network that included, “1,352 fountains and basins for drinking, cooking and eating, 11 huge imperial baths, 856 free or inexpensive public baths plus numerous, variously priced private ones, and underground sewers….” (Solomon 87). Rome’s clean water system was a great accomplishment and unsurpassed by any other culture. Around the same time, cities were filthy death traps for citizens due to unsanitary sewerage and fetid water which were havens for germs and bacteria to perpetrate (Solomon 87). So far there have been examples of water causing the rise of civilizations, Mediterranean islands, Polynesian islands, the Vikings, and Rome. But water can also be the fall of civilizations. During the previous four decades increasing drought south of the Sahara Desert has forced the Tuareg civilization to change their centuries-old nomadic lifestyle. For hundreds of years, the Tuareg people have lived as nomads, following their animal herds from one lush field to another, wherever the rain falls (Harris). “Our life is basically the animals we have, so we protect them and we feed them,” explains Mohamed Ag Mustafa, a man of the Tuareg people. “Whenever we need tea or grain or clothes, we take an animal to the market and sell it and buy something.” (5) However, even the Tuareg people can not protect their animals from drought. Mustafa relays how it is becoming increasingly difficult to find pastures for their animals. He uses his own herd as an example. He used to own a heard consisting of 200 head of cattle, but over ten years all were dead due to the drought. Because of this the people are forced to give up their traditional way of life and settle into villages and learn to farm food that will be more resistant to drought. Many people are upset about the change, but the choice is to settle down or starve. If this drought continues it could be the end of the Tuareg nomadic culture. At the start of the Industrial Revolution, civilizations from all across the globe individually began harnessing the power of water for mass irrigation and power for new technology which opened the door for economics and politics that birthed more advanced cultures (Solomon 2). It was due to the invention of hydroelectricity through water wheels, water turbines, and other inventions used to power factories that caused the United States to become a world leader (Solomon 286). Around the 1880s and 1890s the Niagara Falls Power Company used 5,000 horsepower Francis turbines which spun 135 feet of water to generate hydroelectricity. Over the next couple years improved Francis turbines capable of generating 10,000 horsepower were constructed (Solomon 286). Water has not only benefited humans physically and spiritually; through the development of society and technology and through the connection of life and new beginnings, but is now thought to have mental benefits for the mind as well. Over the past few years scientists have began to theorize the possibility that water affects people’s brains in a positive way. Wallace J. Nichols, PhD, came up with the term blue mind to represent this connection and elaborates on it in his book titled Blue Mind. He defines Blue Mind as, “…a mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment. It is inspired by water and elements associated with water, from the color blue to the words we use to describe the sensations associated with immersion” (Nicols 6).A theory has been made that explains why people are attracted to water. It has been shown that being in the presence of water increases levels of serotonin neurotransmitters in the brain which could create more endorphins. Endorphins are the hormones that create a sense of content, peace, happiness, and other good feelings (Hartono 6).A study performed in 1984 psychologist Bruce A. Levine proved that water can help patients with anxiety disorders. Levine’s experiment was to have fourteen patients with anxiety disorders to sit, submersed in a hot-tub for fifteen minutes. He hypothesised that being in water would calm them down and reduce their anxiety. To avoid patients’ conditions improving by telling them their symptoms might improve with this experiment, Levine explained it was a way to measure their level of anxiety. Once the patients had been submersed in the tub for 15 minutes a significant drop in anxiety, including muscles relaxing, were detected and recorded. This experiment has also been done with college students to help them calm down from the stress of school life (Nichols 157). Additional studies have also shown that women in early stages of labor are calmer and more relaxed if they are submerged in water before delivering their babies (Nichols 157-158). Furthermore, people with rheumatoid arthritis treated by hydrotherapy have increased range of motion, aches and pains, as well as improved emotional state (Nichols 158).The remarkable discovery of the calming effects of water is a new leap toward modern treatment for anxiety, depression, and other ailments both mental and physical by providing relaxation. However, not many people know about this new method of treating patients by hydrotherapy.It has been shown that being in the presence of water, whether it be the largest ocean or a small aquarium, has positive effect on people. By helping to reduce anxiety and depression, it boosts one’s ability to focus due to its calming effects. Water has also been shown to be a natural and effective painkiller. Studies shows that people with alzheimers disease react positively when near water by having a better appetite and a reduction in their medications (Hartono). A report from Mayo Clinic showed that in 2013 the second most commonly prescribed class of drugs were antidepressants closely followed by opioid painkillers (which have been shown to be addictive) in America (Nichols 140). To go further, the majority of the antidepressants, either self-administered or prescribed, do not work very well and are leading people down a path leading to addiction (Nichols 140).  If water can be used as a new treatment for such as anxiety, depression, stress, and other problems, people could avoid using these drugs all together (Nichols 141). Today, water is incorporated into people’s lives through everyday activities such as relaxing in a shower or bath, having fun while swimming, playing water sports, fishing, and other activities. Even if someone does not suffer from anxiety, depression, or other disorders, spending part of the day in the presence of water is relaxing and calming. Throughout history water has been the primary recourse humans need to thrive. Without it the nations that exist today would never have developed, agriculture would have not be successful as it is now, hydroelectricity would not have been invented, and no one would have discovered what joy it brings to people who spend time in its presence. Without a doubt, water is a very important part of life with many benefits.

x

Hi!
I'm Dana!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out