Today is Blog Action Day. Like last year, I'm participating by adding my voice to the chorus of more than four thousand bloggers who are writing about one of the most critical issues facing the world right now: water. It covers approximately 71% of the Earth's surface, yet according to a 2006 UN report, more than one billion people do not have access to clean drinking water. This means that approximately one of every seven people in the world lives more than 1 km (.62 mi.) from the nearest source of safe water.
Personally, I cannot remember a day in my life that I have had to go thirsty because of a lack of water or a contaminated source. Every once in a while, I like to indulge in a nice hot shower to wash away the stresses of the work day. Heck, even our Yorkie can count on having a bowlful of fresh water to lap from whenever she wants. It is easy for us as Americans to take water for granted. After all, it flows abundantly whenever we turn on the tap.
Sadly, for so many in this world, the reality is a lot bleaker. Water is not readily available, and what little there may be is often teeming with parasites and dangerous bacteria. A general lack of sanitation in many of these developing countries compounds the problem, leading to water-borne illnesses and associated diseases like diarrhea, cholera, malaria and bacterial infection, which claim the lives of more than 2.1 million people every year (1.4 million of which are children).
While we are not the ones currently suffering, we cannot act as though this is someone else's problem. For one, it is anticipated that the global water crisis will affect everything from energy production to the cost of food to national security even. On a more basic level, though, is our responsibility as human beings to care for and help those in need.
One current solution involves digging covered wells for villages, which are oftentimes found to be the first source of clean water in a community's history. Humanitarian organizations like World Vision allow you to earmark donations for specific clean water initiatives.
Other ways that you can help are by monitoring and cutting back on water usage in and around your own home. There are countless resources online that provide tips for conserving water, water-saving updates for your home (some of which may be credited or even provided free by your local or federal government), and conscious landscape design.
As a crafter, Blog Action Day has prompted me to look at my methods of making and find ways to reduce my water waste. I want to experiment with other techniques for felting wool, which until now, I've been doing in our washer. The news that our old top-loading machine could be guzzling up to 40 gallons of water per load definitely tempers some of the green feel-good vibes I get from recycling and repurposing old sweaters. For this reason, I think I'll give the boiling method a try!
What are some things that you do to conserve water?