Earth – The Liquid Planet

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Water stirs the human imagination like no other element. All life stems from it, and without it all life would cease. Christians baptized into their faith with water, and Hindus are ritually returned to the water after they die. Sages of many religions meditate besides pools, waterfalls and rivers, and few of us remain unmoved by the stately swing and flow of the oceans. All human civilization is linked inextricably with water, and in this lies our fascination with it in all its forms.

{This is a Series of Excerpts from the book Strange Worlds Amazing Places: A Tour of Earths Marvels and Mysteries. A compendium detailing the world’s most amazing landscapes, lands, man made structures,  natural wonders and other such distinct locations scattered across the globe.} 

Water is rarely still, and we associate its movements and rhythms with our own lives and ultimate impermanence. The great rivers of the world are alive with legend, and dominate the existence of those who live on their banks. For millennia the Nile’s annual flooding has enriched he farmlands of its basin with silt that has regularly restored the soil’s fertility, and the Ganges remains the essence of Hindu religious life.

Water in violent motion drives home our own insignificance. The thundering falls of Niagara and Iguacu confuse the mind with their deafening roar and massive volume; this is visible, audible power on a scale that cows the human imagination. In different ways we are also reduced to size by the scalding geysers of Iceland, the mighty iceberg-spawning cliffs of the Ross Ice Shelf of Antarctica, and the icy depths of Siberia’s Lake Baikal, 25 million years old and containing one-fifth of the planet’s fresh water.

Continuous degradation of our environment has affected the water bodies as well. Be it the crude oil spillage or the industrial wastes which are being dumped, it won’t be long before the ill effects will haunt us in the future. Already scientists have predicted that due to the increase in the melting of ice in the Polar Regions, many cities which are at the coast will be submerged under water. Along with the climatic changes, natural activities like the shifting of the tectonic plates is also a concern. One of the prime examples of the devastation is the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004.

In SearchofLife we will look into some of the major rivers which constitute our planet and try to understand their importance of existence and their significance in our society, the problems which these life givers are facing and also what are the various ways in which we can try and save our planet from its continuous degradation.

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