one green planet
one green planet

Water is life. That puts it rather bluntly, but it’s the truth: Without water, we can’t survive, and in fact, without clean water, we can’t survive. Unfortunately, in this modern world of chemical runoff and contamination, our sources of water are becoming both less and less present and, those that are there, less and less reliable.

While the government, at least in the U.S. and other industrialized nations, has traditionally played a vital role in cleaning our water for us, this convenience is becoming unreliable. Water has become more a commodity than a human right, and that has only been exacerbated by the failure of our officials to monitor our municipal water systems.

At the risk of sounding overly cautious or conspiratorial, perhaps now is a good time to start thinking about how we can both collect and purify our own water at home. If we can’t rely on the government to take care of us (and a quick look at the food system will likely verify this suspicion), then maybe we just have to take care of ourselves.

What Water Needs Purification

The easiest answer regarding what water needs to be purified is that all water does. Rainwater is likely our cleanest source of drinking water, as it has gone through the natural purification process of evaporation. If we can catch it off of clean surfaces, it’s pretty close to being good to go. Unfortunately, catching rainwater isn’t always legal. The problem is that other natural sources, even springs, wells, and aquifers, are all susceptible to contamination now.

For those of us not so into chemicals, most tap water is “safe” to drink but likely loaded with things we don’t necessarily want in our bodies. Fluoride and chlorine are still added to tap water, and many contaminants still make it through the system. Bottled water isn’t any better, as due to leaching, it is linked to all sorts of health issues.

In short, the ability to purify our own water — the source of all life — opens up the opportunity to be much healthier.

Simple Methods for Purifying Water

At some point in the world, water was much cleaner, and this occurred naturally. Nowadays, since we’ve inhibited nature’s ability to do that for us, we need to look back to how it happened and find ways to reinvent that wheel. Luckily, that is completely doable, and lots of folks are already there. Here’s are a few ways for us to join them:

1. The Sun

Sunlight is a great way to take clear water, without lots of sediment and such, from looking clean to being clean, and it only relies on the planet’s greatest source of energy: the sun. Clean or filtered water should be put into a clear glass container and left in the sun for a minimum of six hours, and the solar radiation and heat will destroy any pathogens that can cause water-borne illnesses. PET bottles are supposedly a viable option for a container as well, but PVC should be completely avoided.

2. Boiling

This is the camper’s classic because it is basic and readily available to anyone with a pot and cook stove. In order to insure that all bacteria have been killed, the water should be kept at a rolling boil for at least five minutes, adding another minute for every 1000 feet above sea level. Some chemicals will be removed as vapor, but in order to get rid of solids, metals, and minerals, the boiled water should be allowed to settle. Purified water can then be taken off the top. Distilling the water could up this process another notch.

3. Gravity

Yes, gravity filters are another viable option. Though some are skeptical of the final results, many would be content to drink this water over tap water. Basically, the design requires a container that allows water to drain out of the bottom and to be poured in at the top. Filter layers of activated charcoal, sand, and small gravel (moving from bottom to top) remove progressively smaller particles. If water happens to be cloudy or the user untrusting, this method can definitely be used to clear it up before utilizing one of the other methods to seal the deal on pathogens.

Water Is Our Right

While it is all well and good that we can now naturally purify our water, it doesn’t mean that we should stop fighting for clean water sources. It is our right. It’s our right not to have to bow to large corporations sequestering and bottling our water and selling it back to us for stupid prices and with lots of trash to boot. We should have more right to the water than a private company does, and we have the right to demand that our government protect our water sources and provide us with safe drinking water.

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