Chapter 12

By Eugene F. Provenzo, Jr. and Cory A. Buxton

Quotes About Water




Reservoir of water collected from fog in the Canary Islands, Spain.



Florida Sunshine State Standards Benchmark
SC.A. 1.2.275 percent of the surface of the Earth is covered by water.
SC.B. 2.2.2Reducing, reusing, and recycling natural resources improves and protects the quality of life.
SC.D. 1.2.5Changes in the habitat of an organism may be beneficial or harmful.
SC.H. 2.2.1The student understands the environmental consequences of people changing the physical environment in various world locations.



Thinking About Water


The following quotations about water are taken from a wide range of authors and historical time periods. What they all hold in common is the importance of water to human life. Use the quotes as points of discussion with your students. You may wish to post them on a board on a daily or weekly basis, or have students use them as the basis for a journal entry, an essay, a report or a multimedia presentation.


“Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.” —Jacques Cousteau (1910-1997)


“Water is fundamental for life and health. The human right to water is indispensable for leading a healthy life in human dignity. It is a pre-requisite to the realization of all other human rights.” —The United Nations Committee on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights, Environment News Service, November 27, 2002


“Water, like religion and ideology, has the power to move millions of people. Since the very birth of human civilization, people have moved to settle close to it. People move when there is too little of it. People move when there is too much of it. People journey down it. People write, sing and dance about it. People fight over it. And all people, everywhere and every day, need it.” —Mikhail Gorbachev, President of Green Cross International quoted in Peter Swanson’s Water: The Drop of Life, 2001


“Multinational companies now run water systems for 7 percent of the world’s population, and analysts say that figure could grow to 17 percent by 2015. Private water management is estimated to be a $200 billion business, and the World Bank, which has encouraged governments to sell off their utilities to reduce public debt, projects it could be worth $1 trillion by 2021. The potential for profits is staggering: in May 2000 Fortune magazine predicted that water is about to become ‘one of the world’s great business opportunities’, and that ‘it promises to be to the 21st century what oil was to the 20th.’” —John Louma, “Water Thieves,” The Ecologist, March 2004


“No one has the right to use America’s rivers and America’s Waterways that belong to all the people as a sewer. The banks of a river may belong to one man or one industry or one State, but the waters which flow between the banks should belong to all the people.” —Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973), 36th U.S. President, signing the 1965 Clean Water Act


“We used to think that energy and water would be the critical issues for the next century. Now we think water will be the critical issue.” —Mostafa Tolba of Egypt, former head of the United Nations Environment Program        


“You don’t miss your water until your well runs dry.” —Old country proverb