The Balance

Consumption and protection forms a kind of balance, which applies to the crucial object to people – water. And, how and in what level should the balance be kept? It is controversial when people face directly to the natural attributes they have. Born with necessary attribute of consuming water, people think to utilize water as many ways as they can: storing water in containers, building metal and wooden materials, putting out the fire…From the perspective of people, the actions can be reasonable, as what a person can react intuitionally when the person owns the need. But, the problems come out when people do not take necessary measures to restrict their usage, as the feedback that nature provides: water crises. It can be a widely-covered contamination of water in Flint, Michigan (Barry-Jester, What Went Wrong In Flint page 15) or a drought in Colorado caused by overuse (Owen, Where the Water Goes, page 2). So people should not only be users, but also protectors of water resource.

Either a policy or a quick fixing of one’s incorrect idea of using water can help people to reach the balance. But it can be true that sometimes a policy cannot work as soon as a mind-adjustment, or certain instructions on local water usage with numbers, because the latter ones are direct and convenient to find solutions. From my perspective, it may be efficient that people focus on figuring out pragmatic methods instead of propagandizing. As what Mulroy claims, “…If the lake goes that low, your water physically can’t get to you…Frame that water right…It’s useless.” (Owen, Where the Water Goes, page 3) It can be interesting when governors call for water advisory, listed with multiple goals but themselves doing the opposite, even if they know the purpose is to trying to reach the water balance. At the same moment, people can figure out the inappropriate actions to water they are doing and then correct them. Also, there are chances for people to go volunteering in local communities for water cleaning or education. Thus, the core point of balance can be: people focus on executing details mentioned in any water policy. And, when the micro actions are interacting with macro policies, people are approaching to the balance.

The Calm before the Crisis

Water is one of the most important resources for human beings. Even though water makes up about 70% of the world, not all of it is safe for consumption. In fact, many people are deprived of any water source while others take the luxury of it. In the United States, it takes huge loads of water to supply over 300 million people and the usage can be extreme. In the article, Where the Water Goes, David Owen explores the origin of America’s water source of its people and how it may not last from over usage and extreme climate change. My question or discussion would be how can we make people aware of this issue before it’s too late?

For many people, they may not be aware of how extreme usage of water can be harmful in the long run. Water is being used without worry of not having it the next day. From the article, it states, “The amount of water we thought we had in that river system doesn’t exist” ( Page 2). This quote tells me that our sources for safe water is depleting and even I didn’t know it until I read this article. For this, we need to take measures, literally, to ensure that our water source can hold up for the future generation. From Aram’s blog post, I learned a possible strategy is to turn off the running water when it is not needed. This should be encouraged in most public places such as public restrooms, official buildings, schools etc.

Can America Decrease Its Water Use?

Water sustainability is the most important thing to ensure a prolonged existence for humanity. America is one of the heaviest water users on earth, with a population of over 330 million people, and a booming agricultural industry. To become more stringent with our water use is far easier said than done. So that begs the question: Is it possible for America to reduce their water use as whole?

I think it is very unlikely that Americans would reduce their water use on their own. America has developed into a consumeristic society, where people just go to the store and buy what they want, without considering the larger impact on their environment. Additionally, Americans rarely consider the ramifications when they do something as simple as taking a shower, or brushing their teeth. An example of this is author David Owen explaining how he failed to realize the impact he was having on the water supply when he worked for a landscaping firm. He said, “Among the many questions I failed to ask myself that summer was where all the water we used at work came from. All I knew was that every time I attached a hose to a spigot and turned it on, I could run it full force until it was time to go home” (Owen 1). This shows how Americans are very unlikely to monitor their water use without the intervention of another party. I think that this is where the United States government can help. Without stricter water regulations from the government, it is very unlikely that our water use will decrease. An example of this is Las Vegas. According to Owen, “Las Vegas has some of most stringent water-conservation regulations in the country” (Owen 2). This shows that decreased water use is unlikely to happen without stringent regulations. However, these regulations were not enacted until after massive water abuse. Therefore, I think it is time for the United States government to act towards protection out water resources until it is too late.

Realize and React

In the article, “Where the Water Goes,” David Owen presents the idea that people throughout our society are not educated on where our source of water in the United States comes from. David Owen continues his article by also demonstrating why this point is relevant. As I did my research on Bangladesh and continued to read this article, I became aware that people, as well as myself, don’t recognize how privileged we are to have such an abundant source of water. Is there a possibility because of the abundance of water, people don’t care where it comes from?


I believe that our use of water sources has become such a usual activity in our lives that most people don’t even think about whether the water coming from the shower tip or the sink will ever stop. We have become so entitled to having so much water that having a limit to our quantity of this resource would feel weird. The fact that people with the most water do not know where their source of water is coming from versus the people living in Bangladesh do is concerning. People living in poverty-stricken areas must hunt for water as we sit in our houses living lavishly without a care in the world about this vital resource. When David Owen says, “All I knew was that every time I attached a hose to a spigot and turned it on, I could run it full force until it was time to go home” proves that even young adults at the age of twenty-one do not have the care to know where our plentiful source in the United States comes from. The fact that we have the privilege to sit back during the summer and use as much water from the “hose” as possible conveys that we probably do not need this superfluous abundance of water in our lives. Do people really need to leave the sink running while brushing their teeth or take forty-five-minute showers? I believe that if people took 15 minutes out of their day to read about the status about where their supply of water is coming from, people living lavishly during summer would cut back and save this resource for the better. People who do not know where their water is coming from must realize that people around the world suffer from the lack of water. Ultimately, I believe we must get rid of this idea of not caring for water just because it is so common in our lives.


The famous quote, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” proves that we should not feel as if one man’s trash is everyone’s trash, rather believe and take into consideration that many live in much tougher and harsher conditions than others and that we must remember how privileged we are to have this necessity as a common resource.

The Big Problem

The problem with todays society is that we are too quick to hear of problems that do not directly affect us and dismiss them. It is not anyones fault, it is just how the human brain works. It is in our genetics to be a little selfish. However with that being said, hearing about all the issues in the world about water from everyones presentation in class made me think. Why don’t we (Union College) acknowledge the ongoing water issues that concern other regions of the world?

Union College is not short of water by any means. In every building there is cold filtered water ready to be used. Also in the bookstore there are at least 5 different types of water being sold to students. So, getting water is no problem for Union College, but at the same time is exactly the problem. People are never thinking of ways to get more water, or getting cleaner water. To quote Where the Water Goes by David Owen, he states, “All I knew was that every time I attached a hose to a spigot and turned it on, I could run it full force until it was time to go home” (1). This is relatable because water is so assessable. Why would we fix something that is not broken? However, as humans we need to dig deeper and not think just about ourselves and think about the people less fortunate than us. We have a duty to use our resources and help others that can not help themselves. Make a movement bigger than ourselves. It starts with the student body leaders and how they can get all students on board in helping places that do not have water like us.


Reading into Resources

After listening to everyone’s presentations and reading “Where the Water Goes,” I began to realize that as a society, there is not a lot of awareness about where our water comes from and further, the issues involved with the extraction of water for everyday activities such as drinking, eating, bathing, and growing plants. While in many cultures, where clean freshwater is scarce, they have to be constantly aware of their water usage and must contemplate were they are getting their water from or when they are going to be able to get water next. This made me question the reasoning behind the lack of awareness of our water and the sources we take it from here in the U.S. Further, I began to question the importance of having an understanding of where our water comes from and how we can, and are, exploiting it. My question is should we put more effort into educating people on the scarcity of water and about the sources their water comes from? It seems like there is a lack of understanding that water is a depletable resource and in fact can both cause major crisis while simultaneously keeping us alive.

I think a major contributor to the lack of knowledge or thought that is put into the importance of water and where water comes from in the U.S is that clean water is constantly accessible. In fact, David Owen said himself, “All I knew was that every time I attached a hose to a spigot and turned it on, I could run it full force until it was time to go home,” and is so easy to access that our use of water becomes routine. While Owen was accessing the water to maintain the grounds of the property, he was contributing to the depletion of the water level in the Colorado River and Lake Mead without realizing. That depletion not only has future negative effects on the people in Colorado Springs, like Owen, but it also impacts every community that depends on the river and lake for their water usage, whether for agriculture or for basic household uses. Due to the fact that water depletion has a big impact on our entire population’s future survival, I believe that it is important to bring awareness to where we access our water and further, the implications of our everyday actions on the future of our water sources. This can be done through governmental regulations in which the government requires that we educate children in schools about the crisis we may face if we do not alter our actions. The government could also enact subsidies for farmers to transition their methods of farming through educating them about the impact their water usage can have for the future of our population’s survival.

Water Crisis: Who Is To Blame?

In David Owen’s article “Where the Water Goes” adapted from his book, he tells a story about himself and relates it to a bigger issue. Owen explains how he used to work with a grounds crew taking care of lawns and maintenance. Every day he and his co-workers would spray water aimlessly all day long just to keep the grass green. What Owen did not think about, was where was this water coming from? In developed countries such as the United States it is easy to go on every day and without understanding how the water coming out of your sink or shower got there. By telling this story, Owen places some blame on himself for not thinking about his impact and the water he was using. There is limited supply of freshwater on earth and changes need to happen. In the article Owen also questions the water usage of certain states. My question is who should be blamed for the water crisis we are facing today?

I believe that the government should be held responsible for the water supply problems in The United States. For the most part water is regulated and supplied by the government. Due to this, I think that it is necessary that the government impliment sustainable practices in order to protect our water supply. The United States has the facilities and resources to understand the impacts of overusing water. Furthermore, the government’s job is to inform the citizens of such a large issue as running out of water. I do not think that certain states who use more water are to blame for water scarcity and over use. It is the governments job to allocate and protect natural resources that are not owned by anyone in particular. Owen quotes Patricia Mulroy who says “What happens in Denver matters in L.A. What happens in Phoenix matters in Salt Lake. It’s a web, and if you cut one strand the whole thing begins to unravel. If you think there can be a winner in something like that, you are nuts. Either we all win, or we all lose. And we certainly don’t have time to go to court.” As Mulroy explains, I think that is important to look at the bigger picture of the water crisis and the government should have been doing that much earlier.

what are the problems cause this tragedy in Memorial Hospital

Before I read the news of the Memorial Hospital, I didn’t realize that a natural disaster can cause such kind of tragedy that people are killed by others because of the limited resources. Thus, I was wondering what are the problems cause this tragedy?


The first problem is that the hospital is not well designed and well managed. From the report, we can know that the “Memorial Medical Center was situated on one of the low points in the bowl that is New Orleans, three miles southwest of the city’s French Quarter and three feet below sea level.” Which is not a safe place. It was built in 1926 and not originally designed as a hospital. It was purchased in 1995 by Tenet Healthcare, then becomes a hospital. Also, the “facilities personnel had warned after Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Fixing the problem would be costly; a few less-expensive improvements were made.” We can know that though the hospital knows that there will be risks, they choose to save money, but not really solve the problems. Moreover, when designing the hospital, they didn’t consider the situation of elevators out of function, so that the patient that has severe health problems cannot be transported easily. The second problem is that the rescue recourses is limited, the rescue team cannot always stop by and carry the patients, and can only take a little portion of people at a time. The third problem is that the doctors decided that the patients with D.N.R. should not be rescued first, and they simply classified the patients into 3 groups according to their health and movability, and let the movable ones leave first. The D.N.R. only works when the patients have no breath and blood flow, which means that they want to die naturally, but does not mean that they do not want to be alive, otherwise they will even not come to the hospital. Also, regardless of the real situation of the patients but only takes their movability into account is not reasonable. If there is a need to sacrifice some of the patients, we should consider that how many years can they still live, what’s the possibility that they are going to recover, what recourses they will need, etc. There should be a more thorough analysis. Moreover, the patients with better conditions are less likely to get medical care in other hospitals after being rescued, as the other hospitals are full of patients, the priority will be saving people’s lives, but not curing people has no life-threatening danger in short period. Thus, in my opinion, the people that need most care need to be rescued first, as they are more likely to get help in other hospitals, and have a greater chance to be alive. The fourth problem is that the doctors and nurses inject morphine to let the patients die, regardless of the patients’ will. In my view, comfort care can be continuing to give them morphine, with a small amount, so that they can keep sleeping, and don’t need to be anxious, panic and painful because of the horrible situation and their disease. Or doctors and nurses can ask whether there is someone who does not want to live anymore, or would like to sacrifice themselves, and give them a deadly shot.

Whats true?

What do you see? What do you interpret? Why? Why do you think that? These are all questions our guest Mr.Taubman asked us during his presentation.  I was intrigued by how in-depth Mr.Taubman went when processing a thought. He took a simple 2D image and enhanced my mind as if I was looking at a 3D image from all angles. However, what I noticed was that all 16 students in the class had something different to say about the same image. Our visions were all unique. We view things with different perspectives and come up with our own meaning. The image was set and stone, but the meaning varied. What I got out of this was something bigger than interpreting an image, but rather coming to a realization that there is no right answer, anything can be justified. Just like the decisions made at Memorial Hospital.

In the article, The Deadly Choices at Memorial, controversial decisions were made by doctors. Doctors injected patients to fasten their deaths during a time of crisis without any consent. Many people view this as wrong because the doctors have no right to decide when a patient should die, however, I argue that the doctors were correct in their decisions because of the situation at hand. However, they didn’t inject the patients just to do it, but rather for the betterment of the patients. According to Dr. Cook, too many people needed help and weren’t going to make it, so the humane thing to him was to put them out of their misery as he says, “It was actually to the point where you were considering that you couldn’t just leave them; the humane thing would be to put ’em out”. The hospital’s conditions were awful, so putting those out, who had a less likely chance of living, to me, betters both parties. Dr.Pou stated, “help the patients that were having pain and sedate the patients who were anxious” because “we knew they were going to be there another day, that they would go through at least another day of hell.” We see examples that injecting patient would be a more peaceful death. Shown through the 80 yearly man who ran out of oxygen while getting navigated through a staircase and the two LifeCare patients who died because of their ventilators going out. Wouldn’t their deaths have been more peaceful? As we see here, her actions were justifiable because she metaphorically says that the hospital is like hell, which implies horrendous conditions. The triage system is undefinable. There are so many loopholes and different arguments that can be made. Really any viewpoint can be justifiable.

In the article, when you look into the faces of victims families, as well as the doctors, what do you see? What can you tell by the way they stare blandly into the camera? Distress, regret, maybe confidence? What does the color of the image imply? These are all open ended questions that may answer how theses victims, or integrators, feel about the issue.

The Misunderstanding of DNR

DNR stands for “do not resuscitate,” which refers to the act of performing CPR on a patient. Although this seems to be clear, it is often misunderstood and poorly complied with by many doctors and hospitals around the world. So, how exactly is it misunderstood, and how can doctors better comply with this order?

In Memorial Hospital, DNR was misconceived by the doctors on the staff. When Hurricane Katrina struck in New Orleans, the hospital lost power, causing an immediate evacuation of the patients in this unexpected moment of terror. Throughout this experience, the doctors used triage, a system in which doctors decide the order of treatment for a large number of patients based on the urgency of their illness. However, when the doctors grouped the patients into three distinct groups according to their urgency, they placed those with DNR orders with the patients who were the sickest. Personally, I disagree with this action because I do not believe DNR should play a role in this decision. DNR does not have anything to do with the condition of the patient, which is solely what the grouping should be based upon. However, the hospital’s medical department chairman had other ideas: “He said that patients with D.N.R. orders had terminal or irreversible conditions, and at Memorial he believed they should go last because they would have had the ‘least to lose’ compared with other patients if calamity struck” (Fink). Thus, the doctors treated those with DNR orders as if they did not have the same level of desire to live as those who do not have DNR orders. Having a DNR does not necessarily mean that one does not want to live and has provided his or her consent to be euthanized. Rather, it means they do not wish to go on life support or experience a painful recovery. I believe doctors can better comply with DNR orders by completely disregarding it when it comes to triage systems. The fact that one’s medical records has these three letters on it should not imply anything whatsoever. Research has shown that the quality of care for those who have DNR orders significantly decreases, which is wrong, in my opinion. If doctors receive more training and gain more skills in understanding the true meaning of DNR, I believe they will be better equipped to handle triage situations similar to this in the future.