Water Supply: you CAN act

Water at an outdoor pump

If you have been travelling in the great outdoors for the holidays, camping, or visiting lakes and rivers, you may have thought about the water you’ve seen. I have.

I live in an area of high use and high scarcity, so water is an issue frequently in the news. The effects of natural gas fracking on water supply have also been in the news a lot lately (though it seems to me that there are news sources trying to soothe and distract us from thinking about fracking). And, a report last month by an international group of scientists on the state of the ocean and the “high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species” has also been reported in a long string of stories. As one recent story put it, “If the sea is in trouble, we are all in trouble.”

Water and how we, through our industrialized lives, have treated water is right in front of us if we are ready to hear about it.

Yesterday, I sat staring at a disgusting brown pond around which a huge amusement park has been built. My children enjoyed themselves thoroughly, spinning and bouncing and sending themselves to the edge of throwing up without quite getting there. I can’t deny it’s fun. I just wondered, though, as I waited for them and watched the water, how much development is OK.

An argument that shows up all too frequently in reader comments on stories about sustainability is that it’s YOUR fault (that is, everyone but the writer) because your lifestyle is built on overuse of all resources, including petro-chemical products, therefore we need fracking, oil sands, off-shore drilling, and other creative methods of extraction. True to an extent, but our dawning awareness shows our desire to change that, to lower our dependence on oil and gas, and to use less of all of the natural resources we share. How much compromise of resources can we take?

I’m not going to ask if we can stop it. If we don’t, we’ll see collapse, so we have to stop it. Even if we think it’s too big and too difficult, we have to throw ourselves into the effort.

But, how? Where should our energies be focused?

Water is key. A clean supply of enough water for health, cleanliness, and agriculture is essential for sustainable lives and economies. Watch “Why Water?” to learn why water matters so much as the first step.

We are facing water stress, water crisis, and water conflict. In particularly vulnerable areas, we can have a huge impact. Charity: water has used the power of global connections to address water issues. 100% of their public donations go to water projects. If you donate to charity: water, you will help.

You can also act closer to home. In our recent reader survey, quite a few of you expressed an interest in hearing more about protection of the water supply. We’ve planned a series of posts to help you learn about water supply and what you can do to keep your water and your family safe(r). If you have any specific questions or if you have a story to share about keeping your own water supply clean, please let us know.

Image © Mikael Damkier | Dreamstime.com

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