Blog Action Day – It’s all about WATER

Oct 15, 2010

Today is Blog Action Day, an annual event to bring people worldwide together to post about a worthy cause. This year, the invite is to debate, brainstorm and raise awareness around the issue of clean water.

Given that I’m not an expert, I’d like to take this opportunity to do my small part to simply raise awareness on the issue with family, friends, colleagues and the 5 people that know about my blog…

Water is the lifeblood of our planet – and us humans are just part of the system that needs to address sustainability for the environment and all living creatures. This is a global issue requiring a global conversation. Almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water (an estimated 1 in 8 people). Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of diseases.

Blog Action Day 2010: Water from Blog Action Day on Vimeo.

I’ve included just a short list of topics below that change.org has assembled on the question of Why Water? Take just 5 minutes to read up on one or two items that interest you:

  • In July, to address the water crisis, the United Nations declared access to clean water and sanitation a human right over. But we are far from implementing solutions to secure basic access to safe drinking water. Read More »
  • Every week, nearly 38,000 children under the age of 5 die from unsafe drinking water and unhygienic living conditions.Read More »
  • That cotton t-shirt you’re wearing right now took 1,514 liters of water to produce, and your jeans required an extra 6,813 liters. Read More »
  • The US, Mexico and China lead the world in bottled water consumption, with people in the US drinking an average of 200 bottles of water per person each year. Over 17 million barrels of oil are needed to manufacture those water bottles, 86% of which will never be recycled. Read More »
  • Death and disease caused by polluted coastal waters costs the global economy $12.8 billion a year. Read More »
  • Communities around the world are taking steps to reduce water bottle waste by eliminating bottled water. Read More »
  • Students in developing countries lose 443 million school days each year due to diseases associated with the lack of water, sanitation and hygiene. Repeated episodes of diarrhea and worm infestations diminish a child’s ability to learn and impair cognitive development. Read More »

I, myself, started with the topic I found most accessible: bottled water. When I followed the link on the topic, I found an article about Annie Leonard, who I recalled was behind The Story Of Stuff, a popular short film on consumerism and the manufacturing lifecycle, also well worth checking out. Here is The Story of Bottled Water:

And to be fair (sort of), here is an entertaining counterpoint video (supposedly) by The International Bottled Water Association, The Real Story of Bottled Water:

Of course we’re all going to drink bottled water now and then as a convenience, but perhaps you can decide, as my family did years ago, to drink filtered tap water and fill containers when you’re on the go. Make your own judgement about bottled water based on the water quality in your area.

As mentioned, the above are just a few topics in the larger discussion of clean water worldwide, dive deeper at change.org – Blog Action Day: Why Water?

The topic of water is also quite hot in the technology and clean energy space. If you happen to be in the Bay Area, the Stanford/MIT VLAB will be hosting a talk in just a few days on October 19, 2010: Blue Tech: Is Water’s Dry Spell Over? moderated by Susan Leal, Harvard University, Senior Fellow; Co-author of Running out of Water.

The talk by 4 Panelists will explore the following topics:

* Why are there so few VC investments in water given the demonstrated need for new solutions?
* Are there opportunities for IT to play a bigger role in water?
* Where and what are the biggest opportunities in water for entrepreneurs?
* What can cleantech entrepreneurs learn from water start-ups?