You might not believe it, but while two-thirds of the Earth is covered by #water, only 3% of it actually is drinkable.
This means that roughly 1 billion people are unable to find the clean drinking water they need to survive. When you add inadequate sanitation to the equation, the number of people put at risk more than doubles. This culminates in the heartbreaking stat that over 3 million people die yearly from water-related diseases.
I don’t know Matt Damon, but I’ve watched his films for years. I especially like his screenwriting and acting in ‘Good Will Hunting.’
What really struck me has been the numerous articles I’ve read in magazines and newspapers over the last year about the work Matt and his partner Gary White have been doing to bring clean water and sanitation to the people who need it most. Their water.org has joined with many other individuals and NGOs trying to accomplish the same daunting goal.
As a Submariner who has lived in an undersea world surrounded by water, this issues really hits home for me. ‘Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink’ goes the familiar ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner.’ My fellow sailors in the Navy often thought of this as the saltwater that surrounded us that we didn’t dare drink. Since my submarine could turn saltwater into freshwater through desalination, I thought we had this problem licked. Obviously, I was wrong.
Can you imagine people that spend large parts of their day searching for clean water for their family to drink? Why should girls mortgage their future by spending their day collecting polluted water instead of learning in school?
I thought sharks only lived in the sea. Again, I was wrong. Modern-day water pirates force some people living in slums to pay between 5 and 10 times more per liter of water than the wealthy folks who live in the same community. We’re all so accustomed to having water pipes coming into our homes that the idea of buying daily rations of water from unsavory characters never occurs to us. Matt’s water.org provides micro-loans called WaterCredit to help communities take ownership of their water and sanitation needs. As always, teaching people how to fish is always more sustainable than giving them handouts.
I know these water issues may seem really far away from your current reality, but you never know when the next big drought will bring it home to you. I don’t have to look any farther than Texas to see the devastation that a sustained lack of water can bring. Perhaps we should work harder at finding ways to make the same kind of desalinization that I experienced on my submarines less exensive and more scalable in order to bring water from the oceans to the people, crops and livestock that are doing without. Can you imagine the U.S. Submarine fleet pumping freshwater from the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf of Mexico through a network of pipelines to drought-stricken parts of the country? Food for thought…
In the meantime, I encourage you to visit http://water.org/ to help Matt, Gary and many others make the world’s most abundant resource safer and more accessible to the billions who need it. I’ll be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with you as I donate 10% of the profits of the ‘Submarine Warriors’ books to water.org. When you read ‘Submarine Warriors,’ you give:
Remember, 2/3 of the Earth is covered with water. Up to 2/3 of the human body is made of water.
People are water.