This post is in support of Blog Action Day 2010: Water.
Lack of clean water is an issue that’s easy to overlook because we take it as such a given. Thirsty? There’s a bottle. Dirty? There’s a faucet to clean yourself. From the perspective of the industrialized world, it’s hard to wrap your head around how crucial water, particularly clean water, is for our daily lives.
That apple you packed for lunch took about 70 liters of water to grow; an egg took about 135 liters to get to your fridge. Our clothing, our food, our shelter; they all rely on shrinking resources of useable water.
Some of the stats are a little scary: Every 20 seconds, a child dies from water-related disease. The water and sanitation crisis claims more lives through disease than any war does through guns. Some 890 million people lack access to safe water, and more people own cell phones than have access to a toilet.
In the time it took for you to read the above paragraph (or me to write it), at least one child died.
Mobilization around water safety has been a little slow. It often doesn’t have the same media appeal as cancer or HIV/AIDS, nor is it a flaring epidemic. Inaccessible safe, clean water is a persistent problem that needs addressing. So what can we do?
There are common maxims like shower instead of bathe, and turn the tap off when you’re brushing your teeth — but how do we help developing countries where the water we’d save by showering is as much as they can use for an entire day?
If you’re familiar with the term “social good,” then you’re probably familiar with Malcolm Gladwell’s soft condemnation of social media’s ability to create real change. The gun seems to be pointed at online advocacy movements like Blog Action Day, with its disparate users and aggregated contributions. But that misses the point and the spirit of this day.
If social media can bring together those voices and contributions to a call for advocacy or problem solving, then social good can become a powerful tool for change. Besides, the White House Blog has pledged to contribute a post for Blog Action Day. How’s that for reach?
If you’re interested in making a change, we’ve collected some of the best apps, tools, sites and people to follow to help bring clean water to the world.