I loathe whiners and the whoa-is-me set. I have been accused of having no compassion when someone ratchets up the “poor me” syndrome (I am also intolerant of incompetency – but that’s another post). I suppose it’s largely true (I will own this) because as Robin Roberts’ mom evidently used to say “Everybody’s Got Something” and while the list (could be) long and overwhelming for me to embrace and go on about I exist in a space of gratitude because the alternative is reprehensible and exhausting to consider.
Yesterday morning my day started with an NPR story about Wichita Falls, Texas, their drought and the fact that nearly half of their drinking water will soon be coming from (purified) wastewater – and what stood out for me was the whining about ‘how gross’ it was. First, on Earth, there is no truly fresh water – we have been drinking, washing and cooking with, and urinating into, the same finite amount of water as has existed here for millennium. It’s why preserving the stability of the aqua filter is so very important, so please just hush up about drinking (treated) toilet water – because in lots of places in the world there is zero distinction between potable and sewage water (more on that below). Second, all the caterwauling is further example of soft and consumptive Americans and, for this the citizens of Wichita Falls should be truly ashamed of themselves for having their car washes even still open six days a week with three years of drought at hand!
Only one-hundredth of 1 percent of the world’s total water is readily available for human use. Let me put the rest of the worlds’ water into perspective for you dear reader – while 75% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water, 97.5 % of the total available water is salt and of the remaining 2.5 percent this can be found in (the now melting as a result of climate change) glaciers or in groundwater (which is why fracking is such a bad idea – the Executive Summary is sufficient to get the key points, and helps to explain why I think the beverage companies are so evil).
And as my day progressed more water messages came at me and, as I have been meaning to expand on my post entitled Does Water Have Memory? for a while here we go. Without water we die, that water is life is an unquestioned truth, the lack of water impacts every aspect of our lives including food and national security, so finding ways of attending to humankind’s needs (as well as our global eco-systems) around water is big news.
The most incredible water news of the day came from the efforts of a research team at University of Virginia headed by Dr. Theresa Dankovich and her The Drinkable Book – imagine eliminating 99% of water-born disease by literally taking a section of a page from the actual book, putting it in a tray and pouring water over it! The technology is brilliant – silver nano-particles embedded ‘coffee filter-like’ paper; I can’t encourage you sufficiently to watch the succinct two minute video (if I am not mistaken it is narrated by Jude Law) and if you would like “pay it forward” and honour your Mom, Dad or new graduate and give someone FOUR YEARS OF CLEAN WATER by covering the cost of a single book, click here on the Water Is Life website to donate!
For those of us who pay attention to how Capitalism monetizes things like the Internet (for the latest on the Net neutrality battle), be assured water is about to have the same predatory greed applied to it as we have witnessed over the tools of war and oil. Three days ago (3 May 2014) Barron’s published a story about how the folks at Bank of America Merrill Lynch have already produced a 133 page report on “investing” in water. Does it bother a-n-y-o-n-e as much as it bothers me that those in the 1% (or even the top 5%) would methodically go about lining their pockets at the peril of the worlds’ bottom 3 billion when water is already such a scarce resource?
We are all guilty, at one time or another, of uttering in frustration that we can’t ‘do anything’ to fix the overwhelming scope of problems facing the world today, the truth is that reality is something very different. Small efforts make a huge difference, as I was reminded recently, every hand-up is multiplied by our collective subsequent actions especially if we leverage social media to evoke action.
In Kenya, and most East African countries, every 5th child under the age of 5 years dies because of dirty water. For more than a month (in April, I cannot find an update online) Palestinians living in the Shuafat refugee camp, located in East Jerusalem, lived without running water due to a failure on the part of the Israeli municipality in the western part of the holy city to supply such. According to EarthJustice ONE BILLION GALLONS of sewage was dumped into U.S. waters in 2013 alone by cruise ships. The textile industry uses more than 72 toxic chemicals which have been identified in water from dyeing cloth, 30 of which cannot be removed.
Why is this tolerable to any of you reading this? Each drop of water on the planet is the responsibility of each and every one of us to be a steward of, to protect from abuse, or to help clean, to guard against monopoly and to share equally. “I am because we are” the most basic and authentic principle of living on Earth (aka Ubuntu) and what should be our motivation for ‘doing’ – if you can spend $30 on lunch, then I implore you to give up one of those a month and foster change in water resources for someone who deserves no less than the clean water you take for granted will be on the table within 30 seconds of being seated.
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