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“Blue Mind” author discusses water and the human mind

The third-annual Reading About Water student showcase ended April 27 in the Peters Education Center with author Wallace J. Nichols’ talk on his book “Blue Mind.”

The lecture centered around the importance of water from a neurological point of view and the emotional and the psychological benefits it has on humans.

“The questions I like to ask people, including strangers on an airplane, is: ‘What’s your water?’” Nichols said. “I kind of leave it at that, kind of vague, kind of open-ended. What is the first thing that pops into your head?”

Nichols posed the question to audience members who all began sharing their “waters,” from purified drinking water, showers, their pools, the ocean, groundwater and more.

His goal: help audience members understand the emotional connection they had to their water.

“For some people, the answer is very simple, very direct. [Water] is for hygiene or hydration. It’s a way of life. For some, water is infrastructure, it’s rest and relaxation,” Nichols told the audience.

Nichols was introduced to his water by his father when he first learned to swim as a child.

“When I think of my own life, and I think of my water, I think of my dad. I remember the experiences we had [at] Deep Lake in Wyoming. I remember what it smelled like; what it tasted like; what the grass between my toes felt like; how scared I was at night when I heard the wolves howling. I also remember thinking this is the best I’ve ever felt, [being] outside,” Nichols said.

Nichols shared his establishment of a marble project in which he gives lecture-goers a blue marble as a reminder of the importance of Earth and all its beings.

“That marble also reminds us that everything we do matters. The big things, the little things, the good things, the bad things; things that go incredibly wrong and things that go incredibly well. It all matters,” Nichols said.

The Fresno State Water Cohort created the campus reading event to help continue the conversation of water conservation.

The program was designed for campus departments pertaining to water to focus on their water literacy, said David Drexler, a Water Cohort member and faculty member with digital services in the Henry Madden Library.

“Making sure students understand the issues that surround water, especially here in California because it’s more complicated than it is in other places,” Drexler said. “So they know where their water comes from and why it’s important to conserve it.”