Those of you that know me, know that I am a conservationist. I always have been.
Something on my mind lately is the looming water crisis we humans face.
I promise I’m not going to regale you with boring lectures about how we should do this and how we should do that. In fact, I think most people turn a deaf ear because the world’s problems are just that: world problems. No one human can change all that: we each can’t place the problems of the world on our shoulders. But, one human can make a difference and create a domino effect.
I think it was Gandhi that said that a few droplets of oil don’t pollute the whole ocean, but enough clean droplets of water will make a difference.
That’s the idea: if enough humans are aware of and trying to help on a personal and local level, well, heck…there might even be world peace one day in addition to making water the unlimited resource it once was!
Blue Gold: The Water Wars
I had this movie in my Netflix queue (<– I love that word, by the way) called Blue Gold: World Water Wars. I knew it wasn’t going to be one of those documentaries that makes you feel good.
However, I think it’s part of my duty as a human to become aware of not only the issues I face as part of the society in which I live, but also worldwide. After all: we are all connected and we are all part of the great human spirit.
As I sat down to watch this movie, I was appalled at how people are dying every day because of the lack of basic sanitation and access to water. Yes, I think most of us know that in parts of the world, there is a real deficit of water and some people have to walk miles just for a bucket-full of the stuff.
This movie made me feel ashamed when I complained that I didn’t have water for 9 days and had to hike up my mountain to collect it from the stream. O me of little knowledge….
The main problems are this: there is a monopoly of water by only a few corrupt corporations, and water is increasingly becoming scarce.
Bush Buys Land
In fact, according to the documentary, the Bush family – George W. – sent his daughter Jenna to Paraguay to buy over 100,000 acres of land.
There are a lot of theories as to why: it is right next to a huge aquifer, and many think the family has invested in the land because of the predictions of a massive deficit of water resources around the world within 50 years.
(Similarly, the Bush family has invested a lot of money in building a house that uses alternative energy. I have to tell you, I am not a Bush fan, but I find it interesting that this family is investing in things that are going to become real commodities in the future. And heck, though I’m a die-hard Democrat (there: I admitted it…I apologize if you don’t agree – I won’t rub it in your face – it’s just who I am), I gotta give the Bush family some respect: they’re investing in exactly the things that we’re supposed to be investing in.)
Only a few corporations are trying to control all the water.
Bad things happen when corporations control our water.
From Africa to the United States, it increases prices and often, the sanitation level goes down drastically. There are cases that have been documented in Paris, New York, Atlanta…and in other places like Kenya, and South America.
Indeed, Bolivia recently had an uprising to oust the water corporations. They had a HUGE strike – a paro cìvico
These corporations were making it so that it was illegal to collect rainwater, and that their product was the only product you could buy.
In Kenya, the Coca-Cola company owns the water rights (as of 2009 when the documentary came out).
To buy a Coke, it costs a fraction of what a bottle of water costs – something like $.40 to $2.00! And you can only get bottled water in many places because the tap water is so unsanitary. Furthermore, they’d only run the tap at certain times of the day and people wouldn’t know when.
They’d leave the tap on with a bucket underneath, but the company would charge them for doing so, even if water didn’t come out for days!
The Dust Bowls Are Related to Water, Too.
Incidentally, right after watching that documentary, I happened to catch another one on the Dust Bowls that hit the midwestern part of the US in the 1930s, due, in part, to extreme drought.
What’s scary is that the US is facing the same issues right now. We might be in for another Dust Bowl.
I don’t share this to scare. And as any good student out there, it’s good to question and wonder if it could really happen, or if it’s all totally true.
But, I do know one thing: I grew up in Colorado. My parents were faced with evacuation last year due to fires that were only a couple miles from their house – I was there. Almost 400 people lost their homes in that fire.
Incidentally, as I was uploading my own video to YouTube (see below), I came across this one: this is less than one mile from where my parents live:
The flooding in the video is partly because everything is so dry out there and packed down: any water they get just “rolls” off and heads for lower ground.
This year, there have been more fires near where my parents live. They’ve made the national news: the Black Forest fire claimed hundreds more homes and this one was only about ten miles from where my parents live.
I’ve been saying for years that the foothills of Colorado – indeed, the state itself – is growing more arid with each passing year.
Where I live in North Carolina, we’ve gotten so much rain – uncharacteristic rain – lately, that sinkholes have formed, and a huge flood at the bottom of my road has effectively marooned me at my house for the time being. I know - I know - it’s related to climate change.
You may have seen this on Facebook, but here’s a video of the road about 1/5th mile down from my house:
(HUGE kudos to my husband who has been working tirelessly moving rocks and gravel with a tractor and his truck to fix this…I’m helping in the form of lunches and drinks for everyone else helping, too. I’d get out there and dig in, but I’m accident prone and forbidden from helping: I fell down the stairs the other day (because of the rain) and tweaked my back. Sigh…there’s never a dull moment.)
As if to make me further contemplate this growing issue, my friend Jennifer talked about water issues in Africa over at her blog, Another Jennifer.
This is an issue on a lot of peoples’ minds right now.
It’s especially on mine.
And yes, it’s not good.
But we can change that.
It just takes a change in habits on everyone’s part:
- minimizing household use of water in the form of washing dishes, toilets, laundry, showers, watering the garden, washing cars, etc.
- asking companies to limit and be held accountable for their use of water – they use more water than you can imagine – thousands upon thousands of gallons go into the making of a microchip, for example. I’m not sure if that’s 100% true, but if you think about it, it could be: all the people-power required, research, paper, electronics, rinsing, the chemical processes involved to manufacture just one tiny chip….
- forming coalitions to keep out water corporations
- investing in water – yes, because if we don’t change and hold ourselves collectively accountable, water will be more precious than oil in the not-too-distant future, but also because investing in it means that we develop newer and better ways to conserve.
For me, I know I can do more. I try to re-use cooking water to water my plants, take short showers, do full loads of laundry and more.
But I wonder if humans have the capacity to overcome this challenge. It will require everyone becoming aware and taking part.
Isn’t our planet worth it? This beautiful planet that has sustained all life for millions of years; we have risen up and returned to its ashes generation after generation.
We are so connected, there’s no way we could exist if we weren’t. Aren’t the children of tomorrow worth fighting for? What about the wonderful animals that enrich our lives?
It’s worth it.
Our blue marble is blue because of water.
Our posterity is worth it.
The connection that beckons us to know that somehow there’s more out there than just meets the eye.
I just have to say: I’m working on an art piece right now from an earlier post I did, but I have half a mind to start a Sharpie one next and have “water” as the inspiration…