I've thought a lot about how to address this topic with you. It's a hard topic, and we generally don't like to think about hard topics. I want to talk about the need for people all over the world to have access to clean water, and I want to do so without making you feel uncomfortable to the point that you just skim through this post without absorbing anything.
I could take the blunt, straight-to-the-point approach and tell you that one billon people don't have access to safe, clean water.** I could tell you that 42,000 people die every week from unsafe water.
I could tell you (and this is the one that I keep returning to in my mind) that 90% (or 38,000, if you prefer) of those deaths are children under the age of five. I could ask you to take a minute to think about some of the under-fives in your life.
I could tell you about the thousands of women and children who are raped and assaulted while walking many miles to their nearest water source with a 40 lb. (18 kg.) weight of water on their backs. Water that isn't safe anyway. I could ask you to imagine trying to run to safety with a 40 lb. can of water strapped to you.
I thought about going the guilt route and demonstrating how much water we use in a single day in the Western world by tracking my own water usage. How the average person uses 122 gallons (465 liters) of water every day, or how it takes 24 liters to produce a hamburger. A t-shirt? 1,514. A pair of jeans? 6,813.
But, clearly, that's not what I'll be be doing. :)
Instead, though, I want to tell you about the good that can be done.
For example, if a well is built in a village, like charity:water is doing, some major changes take place in the community. The obvious change is of course that the water is now clean and safe to drink. But other benefits include women and children now spending 15 minutes getting water, rather than 3 hours. The children are now able to go to school full-time, while the women now have more time to spend caring for their families, maybe growing vegetables to supplement their diet and sell at the market.
And guess what? This has happened in almost 3000 places!
What's even cooler is that you can help. I've previously mentioned my friend Nancy, who is fundraising to build a well in the Central African Republic. You can donate*** as little as $1, which I'm sure would still make Nancy's day. Not to mention the people on the receiving end of the well, and the fantastic change it will make in their lives.
But giving money can be hard sometimes. I understand that. But there are always other things you can do! Here are some suggestions for how you can help:
- Sign the petition in the top right corner. That's not hard at all!
- Cut down on your bottled water intake.
- Conserve water at home. Bonus! If you pay for your own water, there is money to be saved.
- Recycle and dispose of waste responsibly.
- Most of all, take a few minutes to consider how you can make a difference in the way you think about water.
Safe and clean water is so much a part of our every day lives, let's please work together to make it that way for everyone.
For more watery blogs, check out One Pointy Stick's take on the issue here.
*From this hymn, by Grace Noll Crowell.
**Facts and figures primarily found here.
*** If you do make a donation, be sure to enter leave three entries/comments on my current giveaway post for a chance to win a $40 gift card.