Sunday, March 22, 2009

The world water crisis reached out to my bathroom

Water is essential for life. Without water we cannot live.

The simple fact of the matter is – we can’t make more water. We have a limited supply. We absolutely must cherish what we are so fortunate to have.

I remember a couple of summers ago having some girlfriends over for an evening of food and wine. We live in the country and evenings like that carry on until the next day. At about two o'clock in the morning, after I had finished cleaning up, finding people beds and pillows I was finally ready to wash the hot stickiness of a very humid evening off my face and go to bed. I turned on the tap expecting cool clean water and I got a sputter of brown sludge...then nothing. Our supply had dried up. I was completely baffled and I must say a little scared because all of a sudden the largest public health issue of our time - the world water crisis - had reached out to me in my bathroom.

Nearly 1.1 billion people (roughly 20% of the world’s population) lack access to safe drinking water. The lack of clean, safe drinking water is estimated to kill almost 4,500 children per day. In fact, out of the 2.2 million unsafe drinking water deaths in 2004, 90% were children under the age of five. Water is essential to the treatment of diseases, something especially critical for children.

Yet many people in Canada don't seem very worried. I often wonder what other countries think about us when they see how we take this life depending natural resource for granted the way we do.

Today is world water day. The theme this year is transboundary water. I wish that water was more evenly distributed across the planet. I really do. I'm embarrassed by Canada's abundance of and our neglect for such a life saving resource.

A lot of agencies are doing amazing work getting water to the people and changing the local economy as a result. There are a lot of videos about walking for miles to secure a gallon of dirty water.

I like this video though because it helps us see how this problem could impact more affluent western countries.

If we take care of our water, our air will be cleaner and the land will be stronger. People will be healthier. It is a pretty simple cycle. Do something today to conserve the worlds most precious resource. Here is a list of ideas to get you started.

Thank you for spending time here.

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