charity: water 2010 September Campaign: Clean Water for the Bayaka from charity: water on Vimeo.
The wonderful thing about being an American is that, for the most part, life is easy. We can generally move about as we please. There are no wars on our shores. Food is plentiful. And we are free.
One of the things we are free to do is blindly allow capitalism and conspicuous consumption to run amok. Clean, safe water runs out of taps from Florida to Washington, from California to Maine. Nevertheless, we Americans are under the illusion that bottled water, whether it be Evian or some generic brand found at the local grocery store, is the only water that's fit to drink. We gladly pay companies to sell us that which we can almost get for free. Why?
Well, I do believe that Americans live in a bubble. It's all about us, isn't it? There's a world out there. We know it exists. They make us study these places in school. But, truthfully, there's much to be said for "out of sight, out of mind" when it comes to Americans. For the most part, we have no idea how the other half, third or billions live. We're over here. They are over there. It's not that we're insensitive—although we are in many ways—as much as it's that we're happily ignorant of what truly goes on in the rest of the world.
Water is a commodity. If it isn't now, it soon will be.
According to water.org, "nearly one billion people – about one in eight – lack access to clean water. More than twice that many, 2.5 billion people, don’t have access to a toilet." Wars have been, and continue to be, fought over oil, right? It is a commodity that some have and others want. We already know it won't be with us forever, that current generations need to start thinking of a time when oil is scarce. People don't seem to be too worried about this. Why? It's probably because humans don't need oil to live; we need it to power things that murder the ozone layer, things we could potentially live without.
Water is different. Like oil, it's not an unlimited resource. We need water to survive. "We" refers to all humans—first world, third world, whatever label they put on all of these different parts of the globe. We require water. Our bodies are between 60% and 75% water. We cannot live without it. Americans don't have to live without it. We take water for granted. It's just water. Some experts believe that wars will soon be waged over water. Yes, it's that scarce in certain parts of the world. Imagine what your life would be like if you couldn't get up every day, turn on a faucet and have water come out. What would your life be like if you didn't even have access to a toilet? Keeping that grass green would be the least of your worries.
My hope for Blog Action Day is that it prompts us all to pay closer attention to our use of water and to the fact that other human beings—adults, children, seniors—suffer in ways we can't understand because they don't have water at their literal disposal. In other words, don't waste it. It doesn't grow on trees. It's not growing at all.
(Okay, it's been a long day and I'm tired. I hope this post made a little bit of sense. Bottom line: don't waste it and do some research into the charities that are helping people around the world gain better access to clean water.)