Water Revisited

Water is everywhere. It is not hard to understand why water is so taken for granted. That is until there is not enough water to sustain life. Then every drop is precious. As the late Anishinaabe leader, Walt Bressette, so often said; “Water is more precious than gold.” He said this in the presence of the water of Lake Superior; Gitchi Gummi in Walt’s native tongue. One of the greatest bodies of fresh water on earth.

Our small band of mostly white guys, the Lake Superior Bi national Forum, developed a vision for the future of Lake Superior that began with these words; Water is Life, and the quality of water determines the quality of life. As Citizens of Lake Superior we believe … .that human life is symbiotic with all life in its richness and persistence; its beauty and organization; its relationships and interdependence.

Little wonder then that human scientists, those biologists who study life, look beyond water for understanding about the marvelous organization, chemical metabolism, and perpetuation of all life forms. Yet they well know that quality water is essential for reliable experiments in the laboratory and that polluted water changes relationships dramatically in any local or global habitat. Pollutants may be bacteria causing cholera, extracted minerals, petrochemical molecules, or molecules that mimic hormones.

My life for over thirty years revolved around and was embedded in fascination for biology. We studied as students and with our students the great molecules of life: nucleic acid DNA & RNA, Protein, Carbohydrate and lipid. I was admonished by a mentor that if I talked about life and didn’t talk about protein, I had said nothing; so important was the function of protein for life itself. Then in 2011, I serendipitously discovered Cells, Gels and the Engines of Life. University of Washington Professor Gerald Pollack ten years earlier had written about the essentiality of water in cells and that water had been too long neglected as a foundation for the very functions of life itself. Every protein in every cell is completely and inseparably dependent upon water relationships for its function. I began to wonder if the very function of all these magnificent molecules were present to organize water. If so, water was indeed life itself. Life was not dependent upon water; Water is Life.

Four years ago I first read Pollack’s newest book, The Fourth Phase of Water in which he disclaims the validity of the physical chemistry upon which his earlier book had been based. In the nearly two decades since his writing of the first book, he, his colleagues and students had uncovered evidence about how water forms exclusion zones (EZ) that obviate simplistic thinking about forces in nature that range from the bolt of lightening and clap of thunder to the ways that the future of life held in DNA can be adversely compromised.

As I write this morning I begun revisiting the intriguing content of The Fourth Phase of Water and hope to find new enlightenment for understanding life.