Sunday, November 23, 2008

Giving thanks for: water.

Thanksgiving is just a few days away and millions of people in the U.S. will be busy planning their Thanksgiving feasts with little thought to their water. Water is absolutely essential to the human body’s survival, yet this important resource is taken for granted by most people in developed nations.

Right now, approximately one billion people on this planet do not have access to clean drinking water. They must take water from polluted rivers and streams, contaminated water holes, and sometimes filthy mud puddles. Here are some of the facts:
  • Each year more than five million people die from water-related disease.
  • 30 % of water-related deaths are due to diarrhea.
  • 84 % of water-related deaths are in children ages 0 – 14.
  • 98 % of water-related deaths occur in the developing world.
  • Less than 1% of the world's fresh water (or about 0.007% of all water on earth) is readily accessible for direct human use.
  • A person can live weeks without food, but only days without water.
  • A person needs 4 to 5 gallons of water per day to survive.
  • The average American individual uses 100 to 176 gallons of water at home each day.
  • The average African family uses about 5 gallons of water each day.
  • 90 % of all deaths caused by diarrheal diseases are children under 5 years of age, mostly in developing countries.
One of the UN Millennium Development Goals of 2000 is to "Reduce by half, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water." The World Summit on Sustainable Development, Plan of Implementation (2002) states "... we agree to halve, by the year 2015, the proportion of people who are unable to reach or to afford safe drinking water (as outlined in the Millennium Declaration) and the proportion of people who do not have access to basic sanitation." Clean water is a global concern.

Many organizations are working diligently on the issue of clean water. Among them are:
Clean Water Action: an organization of 1.2 million members working to empower people to take action to protect America's waters, and build healthy communities.
National Resources Defense Council: Founded in 1970, its mission is to safeguard the Earth: its people, its plants and animals and the natural systems on which all life depends.
WaterAid works towards achieving its vision of a world where everyone has access to safe water and sanitation.
GLOBAL WATER was founded in 1982 by former U.S. Ambassador John McDonald and Dr. Peter Bourne to help save the lives of people in developing countries that are lost due to unclean water.

charity:water is relatively new on the scene but has become a powerhouse non-profit dedicated to bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. Founder Scott Harrison started charity:water a little over two years ago and, as of this posting, has raised over $7 million and completed 890 projects serving over 400,000 people in some of the poorest places on earth. Private donors, foundations, and sponsors cover the cost of running the organization so that 100% of all donations will fund direct costs associated with the construction and maintenance of freshwater projects. This includes fuel for the drill rig, cement for the casing of wells and community training programs.
There are opportunities galore to help these organizations in their quest to provide clean water for all. This holiday season give the gift of life: clean water.
Until next time...become the change you imagine.