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Friday, October 15, 2010

It's all connected - Blog Action Day 2010

What do diarrhea, the Middle-East, and women's rights have in common ? That's a tough one, isn't it ?
What do diarrhea, the Middle-East, and women's rights have in common ?
That's a tough one, isn't it ? Think about it for a second.
Give up ? The answer is: Water.

Now you'll ask me: What does either of these three things have to do with water?

To answer this question, I have to take you to Africa where women and children walk for hours every day for the sole purpose of gathering water. Had their villages had access to clean water, these women could have a more effective role in their communities, thereby raising their social status. It's a fact that the education of women has a tremendous effect on family planning and the development of communities. Imagine how much better off these remote African villages would be if they only had access to clean water: Their children would have more time for education, their women would have a more active role in the community, and most importantly, clean water reduces the risk of diseases.

That brings me to my second point: Diarrhea.
Lack of sanitation and drinking unsafe water kills more people every year than all forms of violence. With all the wars going on around the world, that kinda makes you think doesn't it?
Not having access to a proper toilet increases your risk of contracting diseases, such as diarrhea. On top of that, the absence of proper sewage systems entails a huge risk of polluting the local water supply, which can have catastrophic repercussions on the local population.

Finally, let's talk about survival. People go to great lengths to ensure their own survival, and with water set to become the scarcest resource on the planet, you can only imagine what would happen if this issue was allowed to become critical to our survival. In fact you can already see it in some parts of the world. Why do you think Israel occupied south Lebanon for so many years? Hint: Access to the Litani river. Yes, some of the most intricate problems of our world are rooted in very simple human needs. It's no surprise that the UN this year declared access to clean water to be a human right. However, and like all of our other rights, it will be forgotten if a global war for water was to erupt.

So what's the plan? And most importantly, what can you do to help?
Some would tell you "Don't leave the water running" or "Take shorter showers". Do that. It probably won't be enough, but do it anyway.
I'll ask you one simple thing: Give me a few minutes of your time, watch this video. Don't worry, it's not going to go on and on about the importance of water. It's inspiring, I promise.

Did you like this post ?
Did you know that today is Blog Action Day ?
Click here to know more about Blog Action Day 2010 and to find more articles on this year's topic: Water.

[Painting by David Jones]


October 16, 2010 at 7:08 PM Elena

Thanks to be part of Blog Action Day!
Please read my post about Water’s footprint in Fashion: you’d be surprised at how much impact your personal or family clothing preferences have on the environment.
You can make the difference!

October 18, 2010 at 5:48 PM Argumenthol

Some numbers to think about (Source: Wikipedia page "Virtual Water")
"The majority of the water that we consume is embedded in food:
* the production of 1 kg wheat costs 1,300 L water
* the production of 1 kg eggs costs 3,300 L water
* the production of 1 kg broken rice costs 3,400 L water
* the production of 1 kg beef costs 15,500 L water
Not only is there virtual water in food, but it is in various products in common use:
* Jeans (1000g) contain 10,850 liters of embedded virtual water
* A cotton shirt (medium sized, 500 gram) contains 4,100 liters of water
* A disposable diaper (75g) contains 810 liters of water
* A bed sheet (900g) contains 9,750 liters of water"

Anecdotal (Source: Environmental Studies professor. I still need to fact-check that): Showers constitute a negligible percentage of the per capita water footprint in developed countries. The bulk of water consumption comes from agriculture and food production.

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