Blog Action Day 2010 – Drink Up!

From charitywater.org

Life happens, and occasionally when it does your attention gets divided and some things, like blogging, fall by the wayside in favor of other things like micro-blogging (Twitter to you and me) and before you know it the earth has circled the sun once again (and then some).

So, what can spur one to resume the art of the blog? A good reason, for a good cause. Today, October 15, 2010, is global Blog Action Day where bloggers from all over the world blog about a singular topic and this year it’s water (or lack thereof). (Ed. note: 2010 participation: 5,716 bloggers located in 143 countries)

Simply put, there is nothing better we can do to improve the lives of over 1 billion people than to provide a reliable supply of clean drinking water.  Unsafe drinking water and lack of sanitation kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war (source: charitywater.org).

In an online interview posted on the Good Ideas Blog in April of this year, I wrote, in a section titled “Less Toast; More Water“:

Many people’s reaction when I speak to them about social media is akin to, “Why do I care about who’s having toast for breakfast?” A great counter I use is, “You shouldn’t – but you should care about who doesn’t have enough clean water to drink.”

Almost 1 billion people do not have direct access to the 1% of the earth’s water that is suitable for drinking.

Happening RIGHT NOW grass roots groups are using social media to advance awareness of and solicit funding for providing clean water for health and sanitation where none exists today.

Proposed: More attention given and support provided to the current and future social media efforts to help solve this crisis. Charity:Water and folksinger Jewel’s Project Clean Water are two of the current charities using Twitter and other social media tools to help millions of others.

We in the U.S. are spoiled when it comes to our drinking water. Being safe is not good enough, we want it to taste a certain way. We use potable water not just for drinking and cooking, but cleaning, watering lawns, washing cars, construction, etc. We do this while women and children in Africa need to walk several miles each day for safe drinking water. We do this while opting for bottled water because regular tap is not “good enough.” Never mind the irony that it takes 1.85 gallons of water to manufacture the plastic for the bottle in the average commercial bottle of water (source: treehugger.com).

“So, Ron, what can I do,” you ask. It’s simple supply and demand:

Increase supply: Find a reputable clean water organization (charity:water is the one I contribute to) and give money that will go to building wells and other water related utilities in emerging nations. See, it’s not just the water to drink that’s the problem. A lack of clean water means unsanitary waste treatment that leads to disease resulting in overall poor health and increased death rate.

Reduce demand: Think about your personal use of water and conserve where you can. A pale lawn is not as pretty as a lush green one, but it’ll do. Fix any drips and leaks you have around your house, and more importantly, report leaks you see around the workplace which often go unreported for long periods of time. Use a BPA free plastic or metal water bottle and refill it from the tap. Take shorter showers. I’m sure you can find many more ways to save.

So, the next time you drink – think!

About Ron Casalotti
I am part of that lucky generation that started out when watching TV meant choosing from three networks, three independents and PBS. Now, I work in new media for businesses and organizations - but these thoughts are my own.

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