Friday, October 15, 2010

Blog Action Day 2010: WATER

Blog Action Day 2010: Water from Blog Action Day on Vimeo.

Across the world today, thousands of people are blogging about water issues facing people everywhere. As a proud blog writer, I think it's important to join in the conversation and raise awareness of the need for attention to this most basic human need.

Here are some interesting facts about WATER: (used with permission from

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
While these facts may be grim, there is hope for real solutions as more and more people around the world are waking up to the clean water crisis. Earlier this year, the UN declared access to clean water a human right and groups like charity: water and continue to work tirelessly to bring water access to the developing world.

The vulnerability of this once-thought infinite resource became a personal realization a couple years ago here in Atlanta when we had been in a drought for so long that water restrictions were put in place across the entire state. I remember capturing water from the shower in a bucket as the water warmed up so I could later water the plants outside. I remember being so conscious about unnecessary running water, like letting the water run as I brushed my teeth or washed dishes, and it seems that now that we are no longer in a drought that no one is talking about the need for conscious water use anymore. I am happy to report that turning off the water when I'm brushing has become habit and I don't think about it anymore, but there are many more things I could do to help preserve this resource and to help provide clean drinking water for those who need it.

This website does an amazing job of explaining why safe drinking water is so important, its affects on the people who have no other choice but to drink unclean water, and what you can do to help. The organization, charity: water, donates 100% of it's donations to help build wells where safe drinking water is not available.

I'd love to start a conversation so please feel free to leave a comment below (look for the "comment" link).

  • Has your perspective of water changed throughout the last few years or maybe after reading those scary facts above?
  • What do you do to help conserve water or provide clean drinking water to others who need it?
  • What do you think is "doable" to make a change in your everyday life to conserve water?

If you have a blog and would like to join the conversation, visit Blog Action Day 2010 website to learn more.