When Earth discovered water, life became possible.
“Discover”? I was going to use the word “invent”. Then I remembered that water can be found on other planets, comets, asteroids…and the Moon. Water is not unique to Earth. It may be more accurate to say that Earth invented a way to preserve and manage its water by evolving the biosphere. The biosphere harnesses, protects, filters, and enlivens the water that covers most of the planet.
The Gaia Hypothesis blows open the perspective of what life is. The evolution of the self-adaptive, self-regulating spherical ecosystem that we call Earth is more than just a collection of interacting organisms. It also relies on the dynamics of storms, oceans, tectonic plates, and the balance of gases in the atmosphere.
I began thinking about this as I was pouring boiling water into a coffee press. A beautiful stream, sparkling and transparent, visible only by virtue of the fact that it reflects the darks and lights of the surrounding environment.
What an amazing fluid. A true friend of gravity and heat, forming a collaboration resulting in a network of clouds, rain, snow, glaciers, streams, rivers and oceans.
There’s a deep reason why we can generate so much poetry about water.
Water made life on Earth possible. Some people go as far as to say that water is alive.
On the Origins of Earth’s Water
Did life on Earth begin with replicating molecules? Depends on how you define life. The backdrop for these replicating molecules was already rich and dynamic, with an interplay of water (in all its forms), gravity, atmospheric and ocean chemistry, electric storms…
…and the rhythms of day and night, winter and summer, which forms a backbeat. That backbeat drives the polyrhythmic dance that pulls water through its many forms – and brings us into being.