On the plane home from Jamaica we saw yet another documentary on water wars and our current crisis. It got me thinking...
Only 3% of the Earth’s water is freshwater. This is something we Americans too often take for granted. Only 20% of the world’s population has access to running water! Around a billion (yes 1 billion people) do not have access to clean water at all!
Irena Salina’s documentary, Flow (www.flowthefilm.com), was really enlightening (and scary) for my husband, Richie, and I. Watch it! She’ll open your eyes to the horrible truth that clean, fresh water is being privatized in so much of this world. Local governments are not in control of providing their populations with clean water, for-profit corporations are! Furthermore, bottled water is not necessarily as safe as you think and some bottled waters are actually bottled tap water! In 2007 both Pepsi and Coke admitted that their bottled waters (Aquafina and Dasani respectively) are really just tap water, not spring water! (http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/07/27/pepsico.aquafina.reut/, http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0304-04.htm). Bottled goes through far fewer tests as it is regulated by the FDA and is held up to far fewer regulations than tap water (which is regulated by the EPA) in many places, so check your local water source. Environmental Working Group’s website can provide some important information on the subject: http://www.ewg.org/tap-water/welcome
Most likely, your best bet is to get yourself a water filtration system. We have a tap on our sink, but we also have a Brita filter.
Ok, back to the Global Water Crisis. Yes crisis! It’s difficult to feel here in our American bubble, but there are places all around the world, including very modern Israel, where fresh water sources are drying up and preservation is a necessity, not a premeditation. Sadly the Jordan River does not even resemble the roaring flow it once was and the lands of it’s banks are not the fertile grounds they once were. And the situation in that part of the world does not compare to what is happening in India, Kenya, or Ethiopia.
Here are some facts about the water crisis and it’s effect on children (this info is from Water.org):
- Every 15 seconds a child dies of water-related disease
- Children in poor environments often carry 1 thousand parasitic worms in their bodies at any time
- 1.4 million children die as a result of diarrhea each year (can you imagine not only having diarrhea, but also having no clean water to rehydrate youself with?!?)
- 90% of all deaths caused by diarrheal diseases are children under 5 years of age, mostly in developing countries (this makes my heart drop into my stomach and makes me wanna give Avital a big squeeze)
Water.org is doing amazing things in many of these water-poor developing countries. Check out their site (www.water.org) to find out about their projects and much more information on the subject. And meanwhile, you can contribute by doing a few simple things:
- Turn off the faucet when you brush your teeth. You could conserve up to 5 gallons of water per day.
- Flush less often. If you were to flush just one less time per day, you could save about 4.5 gallons of water (which is as much water as the average person in Africa uses for a whole day of drinking, cooking, bathing, and cleaning!
- Shorten your shower. Every two minutes you save on your shower can conserve more than ten gallons of water. If everyone in America saved just one gallon from their daily shower, over the course of a year, it would equal twice the amount of freshwater taken from the Great Lakes every day.
So, basically doing a little can do a lot. But I wouldn’t want to stop anyone from doing a lot! So check out Water.org and Charity Water to get more involved in this very real and very sad situation we have on our hands!
(These pictures are both taken from water.org. The first picture below is a young boy taking a “bath” at the public stand post in Keelakaraikadu Village in India. The second is of a girl collecting unsafe water from a river in Alakuabo, Ethiopia.)