Culture Karma: Saline Solutions

Randy Kraft

I ran into Michael Beanan the other day. Michael is one of the founders of the Laguna Bluebelt Coalition, a force behind the marine life protected area along Laguna’s shoreline, and one of the most animated, compassionate, committed environmentalist I’ve ever met.

He reminded me that water represents 70% of our natural world. I checked. Indeed, 70% of the earth’s surface is water, of which 96% is in our oceans. When you add water vapor in the clouds and the marine layer, you might say we are all wet. And, did you know that 60% of the human body is composed of water? 70% of the brain is water, over 80% of blood is water, and, although hard to imagine, 90% of the lungs. And that water needs constant replenishment.

So, as Michael suggested, perhaps our candidates for local office, not to mention the presidency, might devote a little more time and discussion to what can and should and could be done to protect our waters and preserve our water supply.

The city of Laguna Beach has people and programs devoted to minimizing wastewater and preventing sewer damage, and artsy placards label every drain to inhibit garbage dumping. There must be more to do. Michael says that every nearby water district reclaims water for non-consumptive use and the South Coast Water District deploys recycled water as far north as the Montage, so I would imagine Laguna Beach can do the same.

Ocean water is of course saline-based and nourishes sea life, not humans, not in a digestive sense. Freshwater is found in rivers, streams and lakes, and also seeps into stores underground. Sadly, we continue to discover that fresh waters are contaminated with environmental pollutants. Lots of environmentalists and water districts are trying to minimize the damage, including Laguna Beach, but unless you go to a public meeting held at a California or county water agency, you won’t hear much talk about that.

We have all become accustomed to drinking filtered or bottled water and should be grateful that we have those options. Worldwide, every 20 seconds a child dies from a water-related illness. 3.575 million people die each year, equal to the population of Los Angeles. 884 million people, nearly a third of the globe, do not have access to clean water. More people across the planet have a mobile phone than a toilet, a fact not so much related to water but impossible to ignore.

Another important fact from lack of community involvement causes 50% of projects to fail. Thus, if we want Laguna Beach to be truly “green” [and blue] more of us need to be talking about water. We need more than 50% to protect the 70%.

Too often it seems that ocean views are more important than ocean water, so I propose that City Council devotes time at every meeting to consider what is being done, or not, to protect local waters and ensure a healthy supply for consumption. And while we’re at it, let’s make sure to talk about trees as well, because without trees and water, there’s nothing else.


Randy Kraft is a freelance writer who previously covered City Hall for the Indy and pens the OC BookBlog for

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