Thursday, September 2, 2010
hydrology--the cycle of life
We are all familiar with the circle of life, as Simba the lion learns in the film The Lion King
However without the cycle of life, or the way in which water moves throughout the Earth, there would be no life at all.
Hydrology is the study of the way in which water moves throughout the Earth through different pathways and at different rates. The first example of this is evaporation of water from the ocean, which forms clouds. As the clouds drift over the land it produces rain. The rainwater flows into lakes, rivers, or aquifers. The water in lakes, rivers, and aquifers then either evaporates back to the atmosphere or eventually flows back to the ocean, completing a cycle.
As Leonardo da Vinci discovered in the early 1500s, "Water is the life force of all nature." In effect, water as it moves through its cycle is life itself. If we harm the water, we are harming ourselves.
However we do not always know or understand the ways in which we are harming the water. When a dam is built it is said to better use the water in an area, use the water to perform tasks, such as generate electricity or to be used for an area a long way away. To ask water to perform these tasks is not necessarily wrong, but if it means the water will be harmed too greatly by this use (and sometimes there may be no way of knowing until later) then we need to learn from this.
This gentle spirit of caring for water and its cycle will mean that life can continue for all creatures here on earth. To care about water means to care about ourselves in a beautiful and necessary way.