15 October 2010

The Importance of Clean Water in Education

The title of this blog may take readers back a bit, but today is "Blog Action Day" in the blogosphere. The chosen topic for this day is the importance of clean drinking water.
In brief, the crisis this concentration of writing is supposed to address is as follows (taken from the Blog Action Day entry for 14 October 2010):
The problem of scarce clean water:
Nearly 1 billion people lack access to clean water, which causes a litany of struggles, diseases and even death.
  • 40 Billion Hours: African women walk over 40 billion hours each year carrying cisterns weighing up to 18 kilograms to gather water, which is usually still not safe to drink.
  • 38,000 Children a Week: Every week, nearly 38,000 children under the age of 5 die from unsafe drinking water and unhygienic living conditions.
  • Wars Over Water: Many scholars attribute the conflict in Darfur at least in part to lack of access to water. A report commissioned by the UN found that in the 21st century, water scarcity will become one of the leading causes of conflict in Africa.
  • A Human Right: In July, to address the water crisis, the United Nations declared access to clean water and sanitation a human right.... But we are far from implementing solutions to secure basic access to safe drinking water.
In lands of abundance (though there are many "third-world-regions" within even the most affluent countries), we know the importance of education in the development of civilized society (This blog has addressed this matter elsewhere--in fact almost 'every-elsewhere'!), but we don't often stress the need to keep people alive long enough to educate them. I think the figure, 38,000 children a week, is particularly important: This is the number of those who are deprived of an education, simply because they lack conditions that would allow them to live long enough to attend school. This situation must be addressed.
If these were our own children, we would address the situation. In fact, if these were our own children we would address the situation, even to the point of whatever violence it took to get the matter noticed. I am not at all advocating violence, but I can understand the plight of those (whose children are dying) who turn to such violence. The path to a proper global enlightenment (maybe we aren't as educated and civilized as we thought) seems clear, we must take ownership of the problem of unsafe drinking water--at least enough to allocate serious funds to solve the problem. I would imagine that if we put even a tenth of the money spent on fighting terrorists into the provision of safe wells and filtration systems for villages that currently have no source of water or only unsafe sources we could provide the world with a chance for its young people to grow up healthy. There are many organizations that have addressed the water issue in their most recent blogs (linked from the main page at Blog Action Day above), but we also need the actions of readers everywhere. The first step is to sign the Petition 
Further steps include blogging about the topic, writing/calling legislators in your country, watching for information about water in the media, and talking with your family and friends to help others understand the situation.
I want people to live long enough to receive the education I believe everyone is entitled to. I believe that addressing the problem of unsafe drinking water is a crucial step in the process.

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