Sunday, October 2, 2016

When Did Water Become a Privlege?

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Skip on by if you don't want to hear me rant on a soap box. As I'm typing this, I am sipping coffee brewed with water that comes easily to my home through well maintained pipes. I might balk a bit at my utilities, but on average, our four times per year water bill is around $150, or $600 annually. We pay less than $0.50 per day for clean and plentiful water. This, despite the fact that our primary water source is the Mississippi, a body of water that humans have treated with disrespect, requiring heavy water treatment before it makes it's way to my home.DD2 focused on water treatment as part of her Girls Scout Silver Award, and it was incredible the amount of effort that needs to go into cleaning the water, and this is repeated all the way down stream to New Orleans. I am fortunate-more than fortunate.  I did nothing to deserve this extreme privilege, denied to so many in the world. 

A report by the Millenium Development Goals estimates 783 million people, which is 11% of the worlds population, are denied access to readily available clean water. Readily available is loosely defined, and may mean one central pump in a village, not directly to a persons home. Even in the United States, officials struggle with getting clean water back after natural disasters, or environmental ignorance as in Flint, Michigan. As a society, an American society, a global society, we can do better. 

We have a few charitable priorities, and organizations that focus on creating sustainable access to basic resources is one. We happen to do this as part of our church because of a streamlined process directly to Africa and some matching funds, but there are many ways to do so directly. I periodically go on water.org's web site and am inspired by some of the stories on the solutions page. Small micro loans making a huge difference in small communities. Loans, not just charitable donations, where the community members define the solutions and are able implement what works for them. Additional wells and filtration systems ensuring the water is safe. Creative ways to irrigate crops and water livestock, upping the self sufficiency of families and communities. 

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I appreciate  that not everyone has means to donate, or have other equally valuable  missions to support, so this is not a plea to direct your resources to my cause. It is a plea to conserve more, protect our current water more, learn more, and speak out more. as you hear of ideas in your own community, help champion solutions to water access as a basic human right.  

2 comments:

  1. It is easy to forget how privileged we are in the states. I went to a third world country when I was in 6th grade. It completely changed the way I see the world. Even being young, I was shocked at the poverty and lack of serves. I think because of this I am more grateful than most for our country.
    That said, we pay about $100/month for water because of poor money management by the local government in the past. Grrrrrr

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    1. That's part of my point. There needs to be better accountability on systems that manage resources. You and I live roughly in the same part of the country and your fees are double-makes no sense. That $50 a month difference might mean a week of groceries or school lunches for a child that isn't there for a family.

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