World Water Day: All you who are thirsty, come!
Today is World Water Day. March 22 was designated as World Water Day back in 1992 by the United Nations, and we are more than halfway through the UN's Decade of Action for Water for Life (begun in 2005). I didn't know that - did you?
YouTube's blog today is featuring videos about water made by groups such as Water.org, Charity: Water, One Drop Foundation, WaterCharity, WaterAid, and others. Some are funny, some are thought provoking, most are under five minutes and a few under a minute. Some feature celebrities (like Matt Damon). Almost all of them are made for an American audience in mind and they challenge us to notice how much water we use every day and how we take it for granted that we can just turn on a tap and get as much clean water as we want. Many of the videos then go on to tell the stories of people in Haiti, India, and some African nations where the lack of clean water and education about hygiene is an urgent issue.
For instance, Charity: Water reports that there are 42,000 deaths every week that result from dirty water and unsafe hygienic practices and that 90% of those who die are children under the age of five. They also note that women and children are the ones who have to walk to find and carry water, which has an impact on both their physical health and their access to education.
Many of these organizations are involved in helping those in underdeveloped nations drill wells and undertake other water projects as well as working with local people to train them to educate their families and neighbors about water and sanitation. Other organizations work to raise awareness in developed nations about the world water issues. (One Drop Foundation was founded by the guy who started Cirque du Soleil and focuses on using the arts to promote education and community involvement in water issues worldwide.)
Further, the trend in charity water projects is similar to micro loans: they find small projects that can be underwritten by individuals and managed by the local people (or, in some cases, a member of the Peace Corps).
So, please - I know you're really busy, but check out some of these organizations today and learn about the world wide water crisis and how easy it would be for you to be part of the solution. Remember Jesus' words to the woman at the well: "The [living] water I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life."