World Water Day celebrates fresh water, and has been observed internationally since 1993, holding a special place on the calendar of the United Nations. The UN has highlighted a specific aspect of fresh water each year since World Water Day was initiated. For 2013, it is the International Year of Water Cooperation.
Water is simply the single most important resource and element for human survival. Yet, a child dies from a water-related illness every 20 seconds; and 4,000 kids die each day as a result of deplorable sanitation conditions. Within our modern world, 2.5 million people do not have access to sanitation; 800 million do not have access to clean drinking water.
Around the globe, individuals, groups and governments are taking action to raise awareness on issues related to water and improving the management of water resources. We can help. There are many things that we can do locally to conserve water, use it more efficiently and effectively. We’ve heard the suggestions: capture rain water to use in gardens and lawns; turn-off water while brushing your teeth, make sure washers for your faucets are new and properly installed, install low volume toilets or put a brick or other item in your toilet tank, and install low flow shower heads. Many of us empty stale H2O from our chicken waterers into our gardens. Here’s another trick. Save the water that you boil your eggs in – and pour it into your potted plants. The water contains calcium that is beneficial to vegetation. Just be sure to let the water cool first. All such efforts contribute to the preservation of this valuable gift of nature.
And, then there is Matt Damon. With tongue firmly planted in cheek, Matt and his friends are raising awareness to this crisis. The Academy Award winner has gone on strike, issuing a public service announcement stating that he will say “no” to toilets until every person on the face of the earth can enjoy and access clean water. The star of “Good Will Hunting” is imploring everyone to join in his campaign. Actors Jason Bateman and Jessica Biel are two of many joining him in this effort.
While their PSAs and approach may be humorous, the ultimate message is quite serious. Clean drinking water and adequate sanitation are things most of us take for granted and barely think about. The fresh, clean water that readily flows on demand into our indoor sinks and tubs is an unknown luxury for many of our brothers and sisters around the globe. We can do our part by taking care of this treasured resource. Use it mindfully. Check out Matt’s website at www.water.org if picturing him framed in the opening of a toilet seat inspires you to do more.
Johnny Appleseed Inspired is written by our contributing editor, Terri Grover-Miller