chapter  2
The meaning of water to health
Antipodean perspectives on the ‘substance of life’
Pages 19

Water’s material properties are consistent at all scales: its molecular composition means that, whether in the domestic kitchen or in planetary cycles, it responds to environmental conditions, transforming from ice to fluid to mist, and condensing back again. There is no ‘health’, either for humans or for environments, without water. To return to the roots of the word: ‘hale’ or ‘whole’ is to understand at once that the integrity of any organic system – its wholeness, haleness, heartiness, health – depends upon hydration. In 1994, the McMenamins introduced the idea of the ‘hypersea’. They observed that organic life on Earth began deep in its oceans, and remained there for eons, before making its way onto land. Even when they had successfully colonised terra firma, living beings retained their absolute dependence on water and continued to be composed largely of water.