This is my fourth year to participate in Blog Action Day. In the past years, I've written about climate change, poverty and trash.This year, the issue of choice is clean water. Now, I can probably live without electricity, but water, as a fact of life, is necessary to existence. When power goes out, we're pissed because of the inconveniences and discomfort, but when the water supply is cut, we pretty much fall apart. Any time the water company has to repair a pipe or when the possibility of a drought looms and they decide to cut supply at certain hours, we feel as though life stops along with the water supply. It's literally messing with our universe -- can't go out because you haven't showered yet, can't do number 2 because the toilet won't flush, can't wash dishes, can't cook properly... I'm talking about just the comforts of modern living, but what if it's affecting something more fundamental to life? We can't live without water and we should start behaving more responsibly toward it.
The following are facts about the global water problem provided by Change.org:
- Unsafe drinking water and lack of sanitation kills more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Unclean drinking water can incubate some pretty scary diseases, like E. coli, salmonella, cholera and hepatitis A. Given that bouquet of bacteria, it's no surprise that water, or rather lack thereof, causes 42,000 deaths each week.
- More people have access to a cell phone than to a toilet. Today, 2.5 billion people lack access to toilets. This means that sewage spills into rivers and streams, contaminating drinking water and causing disease.
- Every day, women and children in Africa walk a combined total of 109 million hours to get water. They do this while carrying cisterns weighing around 40 pounds when filled in order to gather water that, in many cases, is still polluted. Aside from putting a great deal of strain on their bodies, walking such long distances keeps children out of school and women away from other endeavors that can help improve the quality of life in their communities.
- It takes 6.3 gallons of water to produce just one hamburger. That 6.3 gallons covers everything from watering the wheat for the bun and providing water for the cow to cooking the patty and baking the bun. And that's just one meal! It would take over 184 billion gallons of water to make just one hamburger for every person in the United States.
- The average American uses 159 gallons of water every day – more than 15 times the average person in the developing world. From showering and washing our hands to watering our lawns and washing our cars, Americans use a lot of water. To put things into perspective, the average five-minute shower will use about 10 gallons of water. Now imagine using that same amount to bathe, wash your clothes, cook your meals and quench your thirst.
Perhaps we can all do our bit to reach real solutions for the water problem. The following are just some efforts to address the issue (also from Change.org):
Blog Action Day 2010: Water from Blog Action Day on Vimeo.
- Building Wells: Organizations like Water.org and charity: water are leading the charge in bringing fresh water to communities in the developing world.
- Technology for Good: Do you want to measure how much water it took to make your favorite foods? There's an app for that. More Info »
- Conservation Starts at Home: The average person uses 465 liters of water per day. Find out how much you use and challenge your readers to do that same. More Info »
- Keeping Rivers Clean: We can all take small steps to help keep pollution out of our rivers and streams, like correctly disposing of household wastes. More Info »
- Drop the Bottle: Communities around the world are taking steps to reduce water bottle waste by eliminating bottled water.More Info »