By Chloe Blomquist
Since ancient times, we’ve followed the water. Crossing waterways have led us to discoveries that have changed the course of history. As travelers, we seek coastlines for vacation. Time after time, we return to these “blue spaces” to escape our modern-day life in search of a moment of solitude.
Studies show that surrounding yourself in an aquatic environment creates a feeling of —awe— This sensation tempers the ego, expands our sense of wonder and vastness, heals what’s broken, makes us more generous, and calms us. This feeling of —awe— is experienced in natural settings, like forests and oceans.
Simply being near water raises dopamine brain chemicals, lowers cortisol levels, and plays a role in decreasing PTSD symptoms. In addition, water reduces stress and anxiety, lowers heart rate, and engages all of our senses— sight, hearing, smell, and touch, which makes us physiologically feel better.
People who live by water tend to be more active due to the various water sports. It’s also more common for people to walk and cycle on the coast. When we physically enter the water, the muscles we use every day relax, and the other ones we use less frequently are worked. Not only that, but we give up gravity which gives our brain a break.
Not only does interacting with water boost our overall well-being, but it also improves the population’s health by reducing heat, lowering air pollution, controlling water levels, preventing floods, and making cities more resilient to climate change.
In addition to the water’s ability to heal us and the environment, it’s a home for several species, which adds ecological, economic, and educational value. Water makes life possible and worth living.
When we don’t incorporate water into our lives, we miss a part of ourselves. This is because we are disconnected from the feeling of solitude and clarity. There’s something powerful about large bodies of water that make your problems seem minuscule, which humbles you. Feeling landlocked makes you fearful, angry and raises stress levels.
You can protect international waters by simply changing your daily habits. Conserve water by taking shorter showers, don’t leave the faucet running, and run full loads of dishes and laundry. Long-term solutions may include implementing environmental regulations to make people more efficient and less harmful to our ecosystem.
Producers should create more sustainable products, and consumers should continue reducing, reusing, and recycling. Finally, enforcing laws to stop overfishing a species or population and ending reliance on dirty fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas. Water is the reason we are alive; it plays a massive role in our well-being and habitat for many species. We must give back to water by protecting it.
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