Seems like I have a lot to talk about this week. However, this topic is not as lighthearted as most of my posts. In fact, this subject is scary enough that most people prefer to deny it.
My World Issues class is discussing the increasingly alarming water crisis taking place right this very second around the world. As part of our class’s research we’ve watched “Flow: For the Love of Water” and “Blue Gold: World Water Wars” (both 2008 films). Some of the information in these (award-winning) shockumentaries is practically unbelievable. How can the earth possibly be running out of water?? We live in a bubble in North America, where it doesn’t seem like the rest of the world can touch us. There’s this feeling of “we are bigger, better, more important than them”, the rest of the world. Well get that idea out of your head, people! The complete loss of water resources is going to put everyone around the world on equal standing. We all need water to live. And if we continue down the path we’re blindly running down, a few generations from now, we’re simply not going to have enough water to sustain ourselves.
I still have a lot of research to do, but here are some facts about the water crisis from Flow, the Film and Blue Covenant (by Maude Barlow) for your information. Soak it all up:
- 1.1 billion people do NOT have access to safe drinking water. That’s 1/6 of the entire population.
- For basic cooking, drinking, and sanitation each person only needs about 50L per day.
The average American lifestyle uses 570L of water per day. In Africa, that 570L would last 3 months.
- Half of the world’s hospitalizations are due to water-related diseases; more children die from water-related diseases than war, malaria, HIV/AIDS, and traffic accidents … combined.
- Up to 7 million people get sick every year from tap water… However, a study revealed that 1/3 of 103 brands of bottled water contained synthetic chemicals, bacteria, and/or arsenic.
- It’s not just developing countries – the Western world is just as affected! Experts say that California only has about 20 years worth of fresh water left.
- Because of its scarcity, water is no longer viewed as a right. It is an opportunity for profit. There are three major companies (Suez, Veolia, and RWE/Thames) that control the world’s water.
“Everyone has the right to clean and accessible water, adequate for the health and well-being of the individual and family, and no one shall be deprived of such access or quality of water due to individual economic circumstance.”