March 20, 2012: A Better Reason – World Water Day

Every day there are miracles all-around us. Look at a tree. Touch a plant. Smell a flower. Taste water from a stream. Imagine the vast beautiful ocean. Gaze at the great glorious blue sky. Consider the spellbinding power of a burning flame. How inspiring – what amazing natural works of art. What is amazing too is how we take these unrefined creations for granted. We often realize our values and interests are upside-down and inside out, but we also recognize that there is more we could and should do to contribute to making the world a better place.

There is a great deal that you can do. You have several choices, all with some merit. You need though, a better reason to do something than just “because it can be done.” What you want even more is to know that you have not just temporarily fudged the solution to a global problem, but permanently, implemented an individual and indispensable change. Becoming an advocate of World Water Day can bolster such an initiative.

Since 1993, March 22nd of each year has been declared as World Water Day around the globe. Established by the United Nations General Assembly, this day represents a day not only to promote clean water and sustainable aquatic habitats but also a time to focus public attention on the critical water issues that plague our present era. Over the years, participating agencies and NGO’s including UN-Water, FAO Water, WMO, UNDESA, UNEP, UNESCO, and IAEA have highlighted issues pertaining to the billions of people every year without access to safe water for drinking. In 2003, 2006, and 2009, the UN World Water Development Report was launched on the occasion of the World Water Day.

Water is the most common substance found on earth. Potentially more than three billion people may suffer from water shortages by 2025. Of the human body, 66% is water – but the average human being can only live without water for approximately one week. Amazing to imagine, the weight of water that women in Africa and Asia carry on their heads is commonly 40 pounds, the same as an airport luggage allowance. Less than 1% of the earth’s water is suitable for drinking but water and sanitation infrastructure helps people take the first essential step out of the cycle of poverty and disease. [Source: http://www.wateraidamerica.org]

This year [2012] the following current statistics have been reported. 783 million people in the world [11% of the world’s population] do not have access to safe water. (WHO/UNICEF) 2.5 billion people in the world [35% of the world’s population] do not have access to adequate sanitation. (WHO/UNICEF) 1.4 million children die every year as a result of diseases caused by unclean water and poor sanitation. This amounts to around 4,000 deaths a day or one every 20 seconds. (WHO) Lack of safe water and sanitation costs sub-Saharan Africa around 5% of its Gross Domestic Product each year. (UNDP) WaterAid projects providing safe water, sanitation and hygiene education cost just $25 per head. (WaterAid) Hand-washing with soap at critical times can reduce the incidence of diarrhea by up to 47%. (UN Water) The integrated approach of providing water, sanitation and hygiene reduces the number of deaths caused by diarrheal diseases by an average of 65%. (WHO) [Source: http://www.wateraidamerica.org]

Kimberly Fogg, friend, Consultant, and Founder of Global Sustainable Partnerships, Inc. (GSP) passionately supports this vital cause every day. Kimberly established GSP [a 501(c) (3)] in December 2010 with business partner and Co-Founder, Mary Barth, a native Tanzanian who shared a mutual aspiration and concern for the children of Tanzania. Kimberly’s leisure travel to Tanzania in June 2010 to behold such sites as Mount Kilimanjaro, Serengeti, and Ngorongoro Crater, transformed into something much bigger, more extensive, and more significant than she’d ever anticipated.

In a journal entry of June 2011, she explains, “What changed my life forever while on safari in the Serengeti, I witnessed three small children walking through the plains with their heard of oxen, where in less than ten minutes I had just seen prides of lions, elephants, hyenas, wilder beast, and zebras. I asked our guide, “Where are they going – in the middle of nowhere?” He told me they were on their way to the river to “fetch” water for their families and oxen. He also told me that although these rivers are vital to the existence of their communities; they are also a source of disease and sickness. I couldn’t believe it — the children drink the same water as the oxen? I knew I had to do something.”

Through an increasing amount of global efforts, fundraisers, initiatives, letters, and support, GSP launched their first demo in Tanzania on January 27, 2011. By October 17, 2011, the organization helped more than 8,000 students receive access to clean and safe drinking water. Through educating, training, and construction, GSP continues to thrive to attain the overall education of health, sanitation, and hygiene practices for children in primary and secondary schools and their families in developing countries. More information on GSP and to provide support can be found @www.gspartnerships.org. A personal one-on-one interview with Kimberly Fogg is featured in my upcoming tabletop book, Tuesday Morning Love: 52 Commentaries and Weekly Affirmations to Honor the Soul within the Soldier.

The recognition of World Water Day grants us a better reason to stop and think about how very blessed we are and all the things we take for granted – beginning with having clean water. In remote parts of India, we are told there are spiritually enlightened people who can go without food for years on end, levitate, or produce objects from thin air. Assuming that these are not tricks, are they miracles? If so we live in a world FULL of miracles. Your very existence is a miracle in itself. Every living creature is, in its own way, a manifestation of the impossible, the unbelievable, the Divine.

You can ACT and give the miracle of water by beginning in your very own home, saving a single drop with a single step.

• Turn off faucet while brushing your teeth (saves 16 – 32 glasses of water a day)
• Run your laundry or dishwasher only when full (saves 1,000 gallons or 3,800 liters of water a month)
• Take shorter showers (saves 150 gallons or 570 liters of water a month)
• Fix a dripping faucet (saves 140 gallons or 530 liters of water a month)

Love and Awareness for your Tuesday.

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