The Nectar of the Gods isn’t wine, it is water.
When we don’t have enough money coming up on pay-day, we sometimes joke about having to live on bread and water, with a smile and a shrug while finishing up that last drink or having yet another cigarette. But what about the ones that don’t even have the choice?
Although I am not a very charitable person when it comes to giving to worthy causes, I have several friends who work for organisations dedicated to increasing awareness of, and decreasing instances of people around the world actually living without potable water. Organisations such as Stockholm International Water Institute and the United Nations’ Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council.
Try imagining it, having no access to potable water… No crystal clear spring water to collect from springs in a posh location near-by, no access to springs to collect it from even if you are willing to walk for kilometres to get it, no wells to draw it from, no taps to turn and make it ‘magically’ spill out of and no plastic bottles filled with the over-priced sparkling variety of the stuff. Imagine that the only water you have access to can make you sick if you drink it, but that the only other option is to drink nothing at all.
I know that trying to imagine such a thing makes my brain hurt, and it might yours too. It is just that far-fetched to me. To me, a spoiled child of the so called civilised world, it would take a lot to even get close to understanding how that would be. No potable water.
This is one thing I don’t think even the most widely set-apart religions could disagree on. Water is life. Clean water is life. I don’t believe there is any religion out there who would argue that water is something sinful. That access to it is something ‘the infidels’ should be prevented from having. Please correct me if I’m wrong and I will show you a seriously messed up religion.
So while we’re standing here (or sitting comfortably on our sofas), arguing about which car would be the most eco-friendly option, or how to avoid that our next holiday leaves too much of a carbon footprint, people around the world are dying because of the lack of clean potable water. While we stand like the proverbial donkeys between the feed-bales (yes, it’s a Swedish saying, based on the works of Jean Buridan, but I can’t, in this state, find a good translation for it) trying to decide if we should chose ecologically grown cucumbers from The Netherlands (considering they’ve been flown in – carbon footprint) or whether to get the ones that were grown near-by but not ecologically, people are suffering from deadly diseases in faraway countries because there is no clean water.
I will say that again. People die because they do not have access to clean water. Not because they can’t get proper medical help. Not because someone has decided they belong to the wrong religion and should therefore not be allowed to live. Not because they chose to use any kind of drugs. People die because of the lack of clean water. The most basic need of them all!
When you finish reading this, stand up and go to your kitchen sink, pour yourself a glass of water (from the tap or out of a bottle) and think of that for a moment. Spare a thought for the thousands of children, of people regardless of their age, who don’t even have the option of living on bread and water. Because they don’t have access to water that would be safe to drink. Spare a thought for the generations who are growing up like this. To their parents and the children they will one day have, living without the most basic supply of all – clean and potable water.
9 May, 2011