Blog Action Day 2010: Water

by Nic Olson

It falls from the sky. It washes our pimply armpits. It saves people from burning to death. It satisfies thirst. It is the universal solvent. It is what astronauts search for on other planets because it is the only thing we know that is necessary for life. We’ve reached a point where it is not available to everyone on the planet. Water is wealth. The majority of wealth in the world is distributed among a select few. The majority of clean water in the world is distributed to the same select few, those who can afford to pay for it.

It is Blog Action Day. I believe I partook in this event last year and that obviously changed the world a great deal when it comes to climate change. This year the topic is water. I feel it is important to use this tool of evil, Balls of Rice, for good every now and then. Like most people I feel it is adequate to devote only a tiny and selfish portion of my time to the benefit of others*, one day a year to writing about more than my feelings and try to have a positive impact on the world. Because that is the western way.

*I saw a bag of Starbucks coffee, (Red.) brand. $1 of each $20 bag of coffee gets donated back to Africa, where the coffee came from. The coffee was not fair trade. Makes about as much sense as using child labour to build an orphanage. Or drowning a person who is dying of thirst.

Here is my advice as to how to avoid water waste:

1. Shower less! Showering everyday is absurd. Showering twice a day makes me vomit. It is possible to smell good for several days without showering, people have done it for thousands of years. If you bathe because it feels good or it wakes you up in the morning, you need better reasons. It would be like eating human meat because you like the taste, or killing your neighbour because he eats his supper with his hands. Over-showering is cannibalism and racism.

2. Don’t drink bottled water. Ever. Yeah, it is possible to go without it no matter how thirsty you think you are. The fact that there are even places in the world that it is recommended that people drink bottled water could be taken care of if wealth was distributed properly. If you don’t already know that the water in the Evian (spell this company’s name backwards) bottle is the exact same water as what comes from your tap, you should at least be smart enough to realize that paying $2 for a litre of water is mathematically worse than paying $1 for a litre of gas, and just as bad for the environment.  No matter how cool their bottles look, or how many ‘environmentally friendly’ seals and certificates it gets, it is about as trustworthy as the government. Don’t be a moron.

3. Leave your house. The sooner you travel somewhere that isn’t your own bed and doesn’t have heated flooring, the sooner you will see what the real world looks like, and the sooner you’ll understand your water consumption compared to the large portion of the world, and how much less you could use.

4. Don’t flush the toilet more than twice a day. Don’t abuse your privilege to having a toilet.

‘More people have access to a cell phone than to a toilet. Today, 2.5 billion people lack access to toilets. This means that sewage spills into rivers and streams, contaminating drinking water and causing disease.’

Just because you have access to a cell phone and a toilet doesn’t mean you should abuse both. The only place in the world that has more shit than a toilet, is your text inbox.

5. Put a brick in your toilet tank. Save some water.

6. Read. Think. Make a change in your lifestyle. Don’t be a consume-only moron.

Unsafe drinking water and lack of sanitation kills more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Water, or rather lack thereof, causes 42,000 deaths each week.’

The pessimist in me says that this post won’t change anything, and that soon enough we will run out of water and it will be sold like gasoline or diamonds. The optimist in me, yes there is one, says that in five years it would be possible to give every person in the world access to good water, if that is something we want to happen. Step one, I feel, is to realize that we can’t waste what other people don’t have. Stop showering.

Stats were supplied by Blog Action Day.
I gave to Water.org under the name ‘The Honorable Nicholas Olson’. It is endorsed by Matt Damon, so you know it is cool…

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