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Tatik, Letters to Prof. Loitik – Part 2: The Sacred Waters of the Eco Society

Published 02nd October 2009 - 14 comments - 2340 views -

For those of you who missed the first letter of this correspondence and still don’t know who Tatik is, click here now to find out!

Copenhaguen, September 2009

Dear Prof Loitik,

I hope all is well in Montik! I’ve been dying to tell you of my latest experience and discoveries in the West! I have encountered a pillar of the Eco Society! To think it happened in the most unexpected way…

I was attending that preparatory conference on climate change I’d mentioned in the last letter. The morning session went well, we all had lunch and after it I went to brush my teeth in the ladies restroom. I was leaning down at the sink, thinking about Montik, when a very nice lady I’d met earlier named Lisa came into the room, at first happily, but then she stared at me with a shocking look in her face and fired:

-       You! Of all people, YOU that seemed so nice! Brushing your teeth with the tap opened?

I looked at her, back at my toothbrush, at her again, not really knowing what to respond. I simply could not understand what she meant.

Before I was able to think of something to say to appease her, another lady who’d been touching up her make-up next to me whipped at Lisa:

-       Who are you to speak? I’ve seen you drinking tea out of plastic cups at the office!

Lisa became all flushed and fired back:

-       At least my plastic cups can be recycled, what about you driving to work every day?

-       Excuse me, I drive to work twice a week, only when I have to pick up my kids at school. If the issue is CO2, have you thought about the truck that carries your plastic cups to be recycled? I am sure porcelain cups are much more sustainable.

-       I don’t think so, no, no. Have you thought about where your china was burnt? In China! Think of all that coal burning, the workers suffocating in the mines, dying of lung cancer...And besides, to wash up porcelain cups you launch toxic detergents into our rivers.

-       I use organic detergents, darling, don’t worry about that. Look, I’ve even seen you and your husband...blá, blá, blá…

It continued, but you’ve read enough to get a sense for the confusion I caused by brushing my teeth with the tap opened! I’d committed an eco-sin and felt terrible. When I noticed they had forgotten about me amidst their eco-argument, I escaped the ladies restroom. By then, I was so taken by what I’d seen in the ladies room that I couldn’t concentrate on the lectures. Everywhere I looked, all I could think about was water use.

I started noticing how people here are so worried about water. At the conference, in the shops and streets, people carry mineral water plastic bottles everywhere. They drink water all day, not just at meal times like us at Montik! Or rather: H2O, as they like to call it (they love their abbreviations!). At my hostel there are signs in the bathroom urging us to reuse our towels. I’d assigned it to distinct hygienic habits at first, but it’s about the water too! Actually, at my hostel, the taps close automatically after only a few seconds, just enough for a quick rinse. I was having to press it lots of times to clean my hands and couldn’t tell why people looked at me strangely. Only then it all started to make sense.

I left and went to the big Library close to the river to research about the meaning of water in the West.

During my readings, I discovered that the scientists had much to tell about water. They actually believe that human beings are made up about 70-75% of water. Basically, they believe human beings ARE water! Do you think, it is because they cannot distinguish themselves from water that they are such fierce guardians of it? A sort of self-sacralization ritual? I even found a statue outside the Library, inspired on a famous character by Denmarks’ most well known writer Hans Christensen Anderson, called the little mermaid. Mermaids, believe or not, are semi-human beings that are partly fish! Yes! In the story by Anderson, the little mermaid attempts to abandon her water life to live on land and becomes terribly unhappy...

I also read reports that millions of people die every year due to lack of water. Because of the importance of water and the fact it is unevenly distributed in the world, they predict that soon there will be water conflicts and water wars between countries for water resources.

Finally, I was also able to trace this strong connection to water to some religious references. In most Western religions, water is a symbol of purity. The Christians baptize their babies with water, the Jews purify their women and their dead in water baths. The Greeks believed in four natural elements in nature: water, air, fire and earth. seems the Eco Society is in search of purity and renewal - it wants to wash away its sins.

As I left the Library it was already late afternoon and I saw young people drinking liquids of all colors (for which they have names like beer, wine, juices, sodas, etc) sitting by the river. The sun was setting and they happily chatted amongst themselves. Some dipped their feet in water.

One of the people I’d met during the day, a nice journalist called Nicolau, waved for me to join them, but I couldn’t! Too much water for one day!

I walked back to my hostel thinking of Montik again, of how we have our river to bathe in, to wash our clothes and take water for cooking and drinking, but we just never think it is going to dry up - it just couldn’t do, for it is larger than life! Don’t you think, professor?

Well, that’s the news for today! Tomorrow I will be visiting an eco-village. That’s a place where people have gathered to live a sustainable life before everyone else, a little taste of the future. I’ll make sure to close the tap whilst I am there!

My best regards to you all,


Category: Fresh Water, | Tags:


José on 02nd October 2009:

Super cool, Deborah! Carry on!

Lucy Setian on 02nd October 2009:

Deb, thats very cool smile I`d love reading more of your stories!

Diego Casaes on 02nd October 2009:

An awesome post =)

I’m looking forward to read more of this story!

Elena on 07th October 2009:

Tatik, you are the best! We all here in Montik are proud of you! smile

Mike on 07th October 2009:

Yeah, environuts aren’t trying to control every minute detail of our lives at all.

Alice on 18th October 2009:

Cool Deborah, haha I liked the war of the titans at the toilets!! Make up

Stephen on 19th October 2009:

Hi Tatik,
I liked your description of the humanised water godess and her worship. The natives even built an image of her beside the water!!!! Perhaps an ancestral being at a time when human and animal spirits merged? Danish perspectivism? Perhaps part of an eco-capitalist cosmology from the neo-Marxist elders?

Deborah Goldemberg on 21st October 2009:

Hi Stephen, thanks for the interesting speculation! Who knows what these guys have in mind??? I am yet to find out! Tatik

janessa on 03rd November 2009:

Water polluted with human and animal wastes can spread typhoid fever, cholera, dysentery, and other diseases. About 80 percent of the U.S. community water supplies are disinfected with chlorine to kill disease-causing germs. However, disinfection does not remove harmful chemical compounds, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s) and chloroform, or harmful metals, such as arsenic, lead, and mercury.lung cancer

Paul Montariol on 10th November 2009:

It is an eco-novel about water!

James on 11th November 2009:

Great post, a very easy read indeed.

Besides turning your tap off to save water, here is an easy tip. Filter your tap water so its chlorine free, healthy and tasty. The fill up a re-usable bottle and we can stop using so many plastic bottles! Here’s an affordable whole house water filter .

Vitezslav Kremlik on 11th November 2009:

Hi, welcome back, you SCHOLASTIC medieval monks. I have more questions for you:

What does st. Augustine say about eating eggs on Feast? Is it permissible for a good Christian to drink milk on Fridays? Or is it a sin?

Can we lift heavy things on Sunday? Christians should not work on Sundays. Is cooking a dinner a “work”?


Thanks so much for this. Really helpful information. I’m going to pass this on to a few of my friends.PERPETUAL CARE CEMETERY

ilan ver on 09th June 2010:

About 80 percent of the U.S. community water supplies are disinfected with chlorine to kill disease-causing germs. ilan ver

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