Cities in 92 countries around the world prepare to shut off their lights for one hour today in observance of Earth Hour, an annual event geared at showing support for taking action on climate change issues.

During Earth Hour, people around the world are asked to turn off their lights for an hour at 8:30 p.m. local time on March 27. This year the event has topped its participation figure from last year, which was 88 countries.

Countries and regions involved for the first time include: the world’s newest country Kosovo, the remote island nation of Madagascar, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Mongolia, Cambodia, Czech Republic, Paraguay, Ecuador and the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Marina Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Earth Hour global organizers confirm there are currently more than 1,100 cities and towns signed up to switch their lights off on Sunday evening, 100 more than last year. Among the iconic landmarks in cities taking place are the Tokyo Tower in Tokyo and Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate.

“Earth Hour demonstrates the determination of the world’s citizens for a better, healthier world,” . “It brings together cities, communities, businesses and individuals on the journey to positive action on climate change.”

Earth Hour is an initiative by the non-profit environmental group WWF. The event began in Sydney in 2007, when 2 million people switched off their lights.

In 2008, more than 50 million people around the globe participated. In 2009, hundreds of millions of people in more than 4,000 cities and towns switched off their lights for one hour.

Importance of Adequate Water

When faced with a survival situation, clean drinkable water is often the most important consideration. People have survived without food for weeks or even months, but go without water for even just one day and the survivor will be in desperate straights indeed.

Knowing that water is by far the most important nutrient for the human body (besides oxygen) and, in particular, during a survival situation when finding potable water may not be easy, the question becomes – just how long can the human body survive without adequate water?

To maintain a high level of health and efficiency even in ideal environments, a minimum of two quarts of clean water per day per person is the generally accepted rule of thumb. In very hot or cold or very dry environments, or if you are physically active, two quarts of water a day may not be enough to sustain life over a period of days or weeks.

Water lost through sweating and normal respiration must be replaced in order to stay healthy and function at top efficiency. Water is also needed to process the food you eat, especially if it is salty or you eat heavy foods like meat.

Environment and Water Needs

In general the higher the temperature the greater your water consumption needs to be. If you are active or exposed to the hot rays of the sun you may need upwards of a gallon of water per day to stay to healthy.

Perhaps surprisingly, very cold environments can be as dry as the driest desert. This is because cold air cannot hold much moisture. This cold dry air serves to dehydrate your body with every breath you take. Cold dry air can also rob your body of moisture via loss from exposed skin. This is one reason why your lips may be prone to chapping. So during cold weather even though you may not be sweating nearly as much as when you are in a hot environment you may still easily become severely dehydrated without even realizing the danger you are in.

Wind can also play a role in the amount of water you need to take in. A dry wind on exposed flesh can suck the water right out of a person. Indeed, the remains of mummified animals and even people are often found in desert regions, their bodies totally dried out.

Effects of Going Without Water

Although two thirds of the human body by weight is composed of water, this water is needed for circulation and other bodily processes including respiration and converting food to energy. If you are losing more water than you are taking in, dehydration will occur.

It has been shown that if you lose just 2.5% of your body weight from water loss, you will loose 25% of your efficiency. For a 175 pound man that is only about two quarts of water. As the survivor dehydrates, his blood becomes thicker and loses volume. This causes the heart to work harder and circulation of blood to be less efficient. In a survival situation, loosing a full one quarter of your physical and mental abilities due to dehydration could mean the end of your life. Bottom line: drink plenty of fluids whether you feel thirsty or not so that you stay a peak efficency.

Survival Times without Water

Ill health, exposure to the elements, shock, and panic can reduce your survival time in any situation. An important additional consideration is whether or not to eat food when there may be an inadequate supply of water. Certainly foods that contain a high proportion of water, such many kinds of fuits and berries may actually aid the survivor in providing water. Meat, dry and salty foods should be avoided as they require water from your body for processing and will serve to dehydrate you further.

The survivor who is in good health, who uses his head, and rations whatever water is at hand may expect to be able to survive according to the following chart. Of course, there are many factors to be considered so your mileage may vary:

How Long Can You Live Without Water?
Max Daily Temperature Number of Days in the Shade
No Water 1 Quart
.95 Liter
2 Quarts
1.90 Liters
4 Quarts
3.79 Liters
10 Quarts
9.46 Liters
20 Quarts
18.93 Liters
120 F / 48.9 C 2 days 2 2 2.5 3 4.5
110 F / 43.3 C 3 3 3.5 4 5 7
100 F / 37.8 C 5 5.5 6 7 9.5 13.5
90 F / 32.2 C 7 8 9 10.5 15 23
80 F / 26.7 C 9 10 11 13 19 29
70 F / 21.1 C 10 11 12 14 20.5 32
60 F / 15.6 C 10 11 12 14 21 32
50 F / 10.0 C 10 11 12 14.5 21 32

Recovering From Dehydration

The good news is you can lose as much as 10% of your body weight through dehydration and suffer no long term ill effects. Simply by drinking several quarts of water you will be restored in a very short time. However, a survivor who has lost this much water from his body will probably not be in a position to find water.

In cool temperatures, a loss of 25% of your body weight in water will probably be be the end. If the temperature is over 90 degrees farhanheight then you may not make it even at the 15% dehydration level.

Air pollution, both indoor and outdoor, is a significant cause of health problems worldwide. Urban and rural outdoor environments contain infections, allergens, irritants and chemical toxins that can reduce the quality of life and cause disease. Inhaled air pollution is directed at the the nose, throat and lungs. The exposed airway allows hazardous pollutants to enter the body and all tissues are ultimately exposed.

Fine-particulate air pollution is known to contribute to cardiovascular and lung disease, increasing the risk of heart attack and a heart-related death. Researchers at Brigham Young University and Harvard School of Public Health compared changes in air pollution from 1980 to 2000 with residents’ life expectancies, They concluded that a reduction in air pollutants in 51 U.S. cities between 1980 and 2000 added an average of five months to life expectancy. Residents in cities that made the most significant improvements in air quality, such as Pittsburgh, PA, lived almost 10 months longer. For every microgram per cubic meter decrease in fine-particulate air pollution, life expectancies rose by more than seven months.

Airborne chemicals contaminate food and water. They may be ingested and are also collected in the nose and throat and swallowed, often in mucus that attempts to protect exposed surfaces. Airborne chemicals entering the digestive system include well-known toxins such as pesticides, organophosphate, PCBs, dioxin, arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. In addition occupational exposures to airborne pathogens can be intense and can cause cancer.

While ambient air pollution is a major concern, indoor air can be more polluted than outdoor air. Building materials and furnishings are a source of volatile chemicals. A decrease in indoor air quality is the result of reduced ventilation and efficient construction practices, sealing homes and office buildings from the outdoor environment

The tolerance for environmental destruction is ancient and human history is littered with civilizations that failed because humans indiscriminately exploited natural resources and spoiled their own nest. Humans adapt easily to deteriorating conditions and will persist in following daily routines even when air pollution is severe, traffic is congested, water and food supplies are at risk, and social order is unstable.

Smoking tobacco remains a personal method of producing air pollution that remains popular worldwide, despite overwhelming evidence that tobacco smoke produces a long list of disabling and fatal diseases. It is estimated that 30% of all fatal cancers could be prevented if tobacco smoking were eliminated from the list of air pollutants.

The really sad part of our current predicament is that all the right ideas for creating a healthy environment have been around for decades and have been clearly articulated in many forms by a host of intelligent people. The right ideas involve unselfish and compassionate behavior. The right ideas involve long-term planning, conservation and deep commitment to preserving the natural world. Without a healthy natural environment, there will be few or no healthy humans.

Our big environmental problems are built from many small, personal decisions – little mistakes that add up over time. If there is a solution, it will emerge from the collective value of millions of better decisions made by individuals all over the globe. The environmental action plan is to think globally and act locally – it does make sense.