Dreaming of immortality: How the discovery of clean water led to the flourishing of human civilization
It is no exaggeration to say that the discovery of clean, pure water was what led to the development and flourishing of human civilization.
Two-hundred thousand years ago, the lifespan of primitive humans was a mere 25 years. This short life expectancy was in part due to hygiene, but the biggest reason was that humans were unwilling to take from their children’s precious food rations.
A serious extension of human life expectancies did not occur until the beginning of the 20th century.
With the development of antibiotics that followed the discovery of bacteria and widespread access to clean water that followed from improvements to hygiene, child mortality rates fell sharply. For the first time, human life expectancy exceeded 40 years.
◆ Photo: The nearby Kakinohana Hija Spring
This is a spring located in Kakinohana, Tamagusuku, Nanjo City, Okinawa Prefecture. The Ministry of the Environment has selected the spring as one of Japan’s 100 most remarkable springs. Located in the hills of Tamagusuku in Nanjo City, the spring, which flows out from the center of a precipice to feed the paddy fields below, is surrounded by rich tropical forests over a century old.
In Okinawa, “Hija” refers to a structure that uses water pipes to draw water up from underground veins, forming a pool of water.
The spring water is rich in minerals. At 280 ppm, it has approximately twice the hardness of tap water. The water maintains a temperature of 23 degrees Celsius year-round.
◆ Reference: (2030) Aging can be overcome within a decade