Water, H20, is arguably the most important natural resource on the planet and the most important thing that humans need to survive and lead healthy lives. Unfortunately according to WaterAid, 2.5 billion people in the world do not have access to adequate sanitation, one in three of the world's population AND 748 million people in the world do not have access to safe water. This is roughly one in ten of the world's population. (WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Report 2014).
The reality of this situation will never quite hit those of us have fortunately had access to clean water our whole lives. Yet there are some drastic problems that really cannot be ignored. We have just as much as a part of this and need to face the reality of the situation. The act of the privatization of water for example hit me hard when I watched a few documentaries a few years ago. Watching ‘Tapped’ for the first time really allowed questioning the bottled water industry and my own consumer habits.
I won’t go on and on about my own opinions but I would love to share few resources with you as water for thought:
1. First of all take a look at WaterAid for some more facts and figures. WaterAid's mission is to transform lives by improving access to safe water, improved hygiene and sanitation in the world’s poorest communities.
2. ‘Tapped’ documentary. Examines the role of the bottled water industry and its effects on our health, climate change, pollution, and our reliance on oil.
3. ''You'll be buying Evian just to take a f...bath''. Mos Def’s great hip-hop tune ‘New World Water’. You can find the lyrics here. Appeared on his 1999 album ‘Black on Both Sides’. Lyrics speak for themselves.
4. Water: The Great Mystery. A documentary about the history of Water . Great cinematography.
5. Check out this article regarding Nestle’s CEO who is pushing for the privitasion of water worldwide. This article is more about his discussion regarding GMOs (which is another topic entirely which I am hoping to write about ) however if you do your own research online regarding his opinions on water privitasion you can find many more resources. Corporate watch, an independent research group that investigate the social and environmental impacts of corporations and corporate power, discuss Nestles's unethical policies in depth here. For example, they state about Nestle's water policies:
“Nestlé production of mineral water involves the abuse of vulnerable water resources. In the Serra da Mantiqueira region of Brazil, home to the “circuit of waters” park whose groundwater has a high mineral content and medicinal properties, over-pumping has resulted in depletion and long-term damage.”
6. A video I just came across today by WorldVision called the 'Zambia Project' . Even thought I do not necessarily like the way this Project has been marketed* (I am not criticising it), it does paint a realistic picture of the situation in a lot of countries across the world.
The reason I wanted to share all of the above was it because it has indeed helped me have a wider view regarding how much we take for granted. Spreading knowledge in this age of connection is incredibly valuable, so there you have it.
*I wrote my MA thesis on the resbonsiblity of Images and messages used in humanitarian fundraising campaigns with a special focus on LiveAid and the Ethiopian Famine of 1984; I also took a look at what had changed 20 years on by the time of Live8. In a nutshell, my research lead to me to the opinion that the 'pornography of poverty' does not at all help in changing the perception of poverty, creates unnecessary guilt, a feeling of apathy and numbness towards horrific realities that exist. This does not fix the problem of poverty. It SHOWS poverty but not the REASONS for poverty, which are complex reasons that our embedded in the global economic and social system that we are a part of. By the end I ask for responsible representation, one that is indeed perhaps slightly more political, context-ridden, that allows people to realise they ARE indeed a part of the problem AND solution, that they DO have agency to take action other than for example donating money (not that this is a bad thing) and forget about what's going on in their daily lives. I say this because most people do prefer to feel they are actually making a change through their own actions. If ıinterested in my thesis please get in touch.