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What´s up with water: Pouring water into your corporate strategy (V) Water as an earth component.

Have a beautiful Tuesday. When writing this saga, we certainly have to visit our roadmap. And we always share our status or position in the timeline as the first deliverable on your screen. See where we stand by now.

If you wish to download the slides for your ongoing reading, please click below (print them if you wish):

The meaning of water as an earth component. if we pursue the meaning of water as an earth component, from the point of view of a science professor we might be too scientific. That is not our aim. Remember our core: we do corporate strategy reflections, and we need somehow to put a distance from being descriptive and repetitive of what you will find with a simple google search concerning water as an earth component. Nevertheless, there are certain details that we need to refresh (and we have included them in our slides material), because strategy is also based on what we have, in our reality. Or at least in what we believe is the reality. And the reason why so many consulting firms get things wrong is that they do not check reality with the true academic experts who have dedicated decades to reviewing and inspecting the numbers. In consequence, we will take the risk to believe in the data that we have gathered, and from there we will elevate this saga a bit more. I think you have already perceived our prose style for this Summer of 2022.  Alors, let’s begin.

Water as an earth component is what water is for us. In our last episode, we acknowledged a paragraph written as follows: “If humans are living in a sphere where 70% of its surface (in square kilometers) is water. And we only have a minuscule infinitesimal amount of fresh drinking water, we wonder why did the utmost of the high creator of the universe execute this? Aren´t we water species living in a water world, regardless of whether the water is salty? If water is our milieu, and humans are also constituted of 70% water in our bodies (volume), aren´t we water?” (7). Please follow me even more, because we need to go deep further in our analysis.

But first, let´s play with math. Foremost, we need to do a very simple calculation, concerning the unity of analysis: volume in millions of cubic miles. So, please for those who don´t like mathematics, be sure that math is important. Math helps us to relate to the truth (if the data is correct). But as I explained before, we will assume that the physicists, hydrologists, and geologists are not wrong in their observations of measures of planet earth and water, so let´s proceed to notice some numbers:

Our planet earth has 259,875 million cubic miles approximately.  These numbers come from a simple calculation of the volume of a sphere: V= 4/3 π r^3. Then according to several sources of reference that we have revisited, the ocean represents around 332.5 million cubic miles of water (this includes oceans, freshwater, and other saline sources).   Even though 70% of the surface (measured in square miles) is oceanic water,  the total amount of global water only represents a tiny fraction of the planet earth in terms of the earth´s volume. Why? Because the blue ocean is the thinnest layer of all. The average depth of the oceans is 2.5 miles (4 km). The deepest point lies in the Mariana Trench, 6.8 miles (10.9 km) down (3). By observing only the area, and not the volume, we mistakenly could assume that we are relaxing in tons of unappreciated salty water. Not at all. Our water in relation to the size of the planet is a minimum amount. In 1993, a specialist in water, Igor Shiklomanov, calculated the amount of freshwater in relation to the total of water on earth. We have utilized his data, which is highly cited by many other posterior researchers (5). With Shiklomanov data, we have calculated that the total global water on earth only represents 0.128% of its volume, which is a diminutive, little, tiny part in the context of the size of the planet.  Look at the slide below:

What makes me unsure about all that I have illustrated above, is the fact that in the year 2022, we are still using the data of 30 years ago. And I did not find any updated paper that could provide a real figure of what Shiklomanov told us a long time ago. My best bet is that we hold less water than what he told us, so we probably will need to invest in research about water to upgrade Shiklomanov numbers today.

Freshwater as an earth component. Freshwater, which is what we drink daily, is stored and carried in freshwater ecosystems. From the total amount of water on the planet, it was estimated (with Shiklomanov data from the year 1993) that only around 2.5% is drinkable. According to researcher Jamie Pittock and his team, the concept of freshwater ecosystems is what matters when we analyze freshwater (7).  “Freshwater ecosystems are expressions of the geophysical and ecological histories of the landscape through which water flows. The water present in any freshwater ecosystem forms part of the global water cycle—the movement of water throughout the Earth and its atmospheric system (Shiklomanov 1993). Freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems are intimately linked by the water flowing through them”. Freshwater ecosystems are also known as non-marine wetlands, and you can see a map of them below:

Whatever you do to the land on planet earth, affects freshwater ecosystems. Freshwater ecosystems or wetlands are all over our planet earth. For example, when humans decide to create works of infrastructure, whatever type (it could be buildings, residential projects, new cities, aqueducts, trains, agricultural irrigation projects, farming, manufacturing plants, energy projects such as dams, etc), each of these projects affect the natural wetlands where our drinkable water is staying or is flowing. Freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems are intimately linked by the water flowing through them. Consequently, every land-use decision is effectively a water-use decision (7). Every single activity that humans conceive to do in which the land will be touched, is affecting the freshwater ecosystems. Ultimately, we are water, aren´t we?

Ocean waters a thermostat. We will explore this subject in detail later. Willingly, I need you to get the essence of the water cycle in the following chapter.

From all the material shown above, there are three main things that we want you to keep in your mind:

  1. The total amount of Global Water is an infinitesimal little part of our planet’s earth volume. If we see it from the data perspective, it is estimated at 0.128% or 1/8th of 1%.  Assuming that the data estimated by Igor Shiklomanov (1993) was correct,  only 2.5% of that infinitesimal amount of water is drinkable and is stored and carried by freshwater ecosystems all over the world.
  2. Freshwater ecosystems are showing several signs of deterioration and weakening. The issue here is not only pollution, because contamination only represents the quality of the water that flows in those wetlands. The real problem is that water is not running in quantity as it was in its original or virgin status, affecting all the humans, animals, and flora species that survive around them. The real issue is that the freshwater has been lowered in quality and quantity.  So what is happening?
  3. Whatever you do as a project to the land on planet earth, affects freshwater ecosystems.

Strategic Music Section:

Why did we choose Anne Akiko Meyers? Anne Akiko Meyers sounds familiar to those who enjoy the violin. Nevertheless, Ms. Meyers who is of my same age has been blessed with something very particular, according to my personal views. She honors and praises her instrument. And she knows the value of it, not in economic terms, but as her cherished tool for work. Writing first about her instrument, this violin has 281 years. This violin was built by Bartolomeao Giuseppe Guarneri (called Guarneri del Gesu). It is called Ex-Vieuxtemps because this violin was made for an excellent 19th Century French-Belgian violinist, Henri Vieuxtemps.  Before Vieuxtemps passed away, Vieuxtemps asked to protect it. According to several sources, this instrument has been exchanging owners and virtuosos. It has been used by several top violinists such as Yehudi Menuhin, Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman. Even though Anne Akiko Meyers had already two Stradivarius violins, she was still looking for perfection and she wanted this violin with all her heart. Why? Why on earth someone would like “an old but current world’s most expensive 16 million dollar violin? Because tools of ancient exceptional quality matter. She received it as a lifetime reward because there was something in her that was seen and valued by the anonymous buyer who decided to gift it to her. What is it that Anne Akiko Meyers has that no other violinist would show? To my understanding, and without any doubt, it is not the trivial aspects of Ms. Meyers. It is not her look, her make-up, her pretty dresses, or how many nice pictures she uploads on her social media accounts. It is not her allure, nor her past achievements (9) (see her biography here: It is about her essence as a virtuoso of the violin. It is an expectation. It is what we hope or anticipate to catch and listen to from her after she has received the prize. It is an anticipated promise of what she will do with her gift and her amazing talent.  We envisage and await her best oeuvres and mentorship to new talents that still are yet to come.

Songs of today belong to Mischa Elman and Katha Zinn. I chose two videos about the Stradivari 1722 who belonged to Mischa Elman, and we will see why in our next publication. The first video is from Katha Zinn who explains very much the instrument by playing three pieces: (1). Brahms Sonata No. 2 Movement 1; (2). Brahms Sonata No. 2, Movement 3; and (3). Ravel “Tzigane”. And the second video is with Mr. Elman, playing the theme Meditation from the Opera Thais, composed by Jules Massenet, a piece composed in 1893. Enjoy!

See you next Tuesday, with the fifth episode of “What´s up with water: Pouring water in your corporate strategy”. Thank you for reading to me.

Violin Maya”. An aquarelle exercise by Eleonora Escalante 2019. I started to paint this artwork in Starbucks Los Proceres, San Salvador. Montval 300GSM watercolor paper. Size: 48 cm x 38 cm.

Sources of Reference utilized to prepare the slides and the material above:

  5. Shiklomanov, Igor. “World Fresh Water Resources”, Chapter 2 from the book edited by Peter Gleick “Water in Crisis: A guide to the world´s freshwater resources”, Oxford University Press, 1993.
  6. Boberg, Jill. “Freshwater Availability.” In Liquid Assets: How Demographic Changes and Water Management Policies Affect Freshwater Resources, 1st ed., 15–28. RAND Corporation, 2005

Disclaimer: Illustrations in Watercolor are painted by Eleonora Escalante. Other types of illustrations or videos (which are not mine) are used for educational purposes ONLY. Nevertheless, most of the pictures, images, or videos shown on this blog are not mine. I do not own any of the lovely photos or images posted unless otherwise stated.

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