On our travels, we’ve seen more times than I can count people carrying water in canisters atop their head. Usually the people we see are women or children, some so small that the jugs they carry are almost as big as them. Sometimes they don’t have to walk far with their load, just from the village well to their home. Other times they have to walk miles—literally, miles—with these heavy containers of water. It’s also not unusual for us to see women squatting aside a stream, their laundry laid out on nearby rocks, or to see children taking a bath in the river.
It makes for good photos, but it makes for a terrible reality.
The horrible truth of our world is that an enormous number of people in our world do not have access to clean, safe water. Unlike me, they can’t turn on the faucet and take a sip. Some because they don’t have the luxury of running water; others because the water that comes out of their faucets is contaminated. Ice makers, washing machines, yard sprinklers, daily showers, and swimming pools are fantasies, not only because many of the world’s people can’t afford them, but because even if they could, they’d be useless without the water to power them.
Did you know that 38,000 children under the age of five die each week due to consumption of contaminated water? That two million tons of human waste are disposed in water sources every single day? That African women spend a collective 40 billion hours each year carrying water, much of which is still not safe to drink?
And here we are in America, turning our backs on the perfectly wonderful water we have coming right out of our faucets to buy bottled water. How ridiculous we are. How frivolous we are. How unbelievably privileged we are.
Access to clean water is not currently a right for all people in our world, but it should be. Really, if you sit a minute and think about it, you’ll be astounded. This isn’t world peace we’re asking for. It’s clean water–something we already know how to obtain, something that is absolutely 100% vital to life. So today, on Blog Action Day, I ask you to take action. I challenge you to take the money that you spend on bottled water—or other frivolities—and donate it to organizations such as Water.org or Charity: Water. This is a problem that we can solve.