As I journey the coastline of my country, running the sandy shores or experiencing the rock pools, I am often between the spring-high and spring-low water marks. Here is where marine plants and animals have evolved, and continue to do so, in the most adverse conditions – twice every twenty four hours, the tide is out and twice during the same period, it is in. Here, in this inter-tidal zone, is where we as a species first explored terra firma.
Gazing out at this vast expanse of water I often see only the rippling surface with the sun dancing forever to the horizon. Other times I imagine what lies beneath her depths. What happens there, in that deep silence?
Either way, we are utterly dependent on her. She provides us with life. Through evaporation, condensation and precipitation; we drink fresh water. Something most of us take for granted. As James Lovelock so succinctly put it; “How arrogant we are. Two thirds of the planet is covered by water, yet we call her ‘Earth’. Perhaps ‘Ocean’ would have been more appropriate.”
To run ‘a smile’ around this coastline and create an awareness about children less fortunate than ourselves is laudable; giving children a gift of a smile is short-lived if they cannot drink water. We need to drive the message home, firmly and directly, that without a vibrant, living planet, we all die!
When I started this journey I made it clear to everyone I spoke with that I wanted to ensure it was a ‘green’ journey. With this in mind, I approached my friend, Jan Olivier, who had developed a portable water purification system. I asked him if we could test it and use it on our journey. Jan delivered his prototype to my home and explained that he had gone a step further – not only could we clean polluted river water but we could “drink the sea”. Well, it is an amazing thing to run along the coast, appreciate the oceans beauty, and let her sustain me, literally physically!
Jan’s system is befittingly called Eco Aqua. It works by reverse osmosis. Complicated to explain but simple to use. We fill a ten litre bottle of sea water, hook it up to the unit by way of garden fittings, start up the generator and we have ten litres of pure drinking water in literally five minutes. John, my second, keeps a twenty litre jerry can in the support vehicle and tops up my pack’s water bladder as I need it. I am having a unit fitted at my home to clean grey water. We all need to recycle and accept it as a way of life. Selfishness only depletes. The goal is to live off what nature provides and show others that it is economically viable and way healthier.
Just like those hardy species that live and evolve in the inter-tidal zone, isn’t it about time that we too evolve by adapting to Mother Nature, instead of trying to get her to adapt to us?