What causes more death than war?
Today I opened my email provider to see this question in the subject line of an email from http://www.change.org “What causes more death than war?” I couldn’t think of an answer and it turns out the answer is quite shocking. I would like to share the letter and a way bloggers can take action to increase awareness of the problem. Vicki
Dear Vicki, This summer, the United Nations voted to make access to clean water a recognized human right. This was welcome news to those fighting the disturbing reality that more people die each year from contaminated water than all forms of violence and war combined.
But the UN vote is just the beginning. We now need to make good on the commitment to provide access to clean water to the nearly 1 billion people worldwide who currently rely on bacteria-infested water that causes everything from diarrhea to dysentery.
To generate support for this effort, this week Change.org is mobilizing thousands of bloggers from more than 100 countries to write about the water crisis as a part of our annual Blog Action Day, held every October 15th.
The goal of Blog Action Day is to take a single day out of the year to focus the world’s attention on one important issue. This year’s participants include leading tech blogs like The Official Google Blog, international blogs like Global Voices, and government blogs such as The White House blog. We have also partnered with organizations on the front lines of the water crisis, including UNICEF, charity: water, and Water.org.
But beyond these prominent voices and organizations, the success of Blog Action Day depends on people like you and the millions of others dedicated to a world without unnecessary suffering. Here are three easy steps you can take to get involved and help make Blog Action Day 2010 the largest event ever to increase awareness about the water crisis:
- Register your blog or website: Are you a blogger or website owner? Then we need your help – register your blog or site today, and don’t forget to grab an action widget to get your readers involved.
- Sign the petition: Together with US Fund for UNICEF, we’re helping to build a movement of people across the world calling on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to accelerate the UN’s work to supply clean, safe drinking water to the world’s poorest populations. Help grow this movement by adding your name.
- Raise funds for water: Raise money to provide clean drinking water to those in need through charity: water, which allows you to create a fundraising page to raise money to build wells in Africa, or Water.org, where a $25 donation provides clean water for a lifetime for one person.
In the three minutes it took you to read this email, 12 people have died from unsafe water. Please join us in fighting this tragedy by supporting Blog Action Day 2010: Water.
Blog Action Day is an annual event held every October 15 that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking a global discussion and driving collective action.
Right now, almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water. That’s one in eight of us who are subject to preventable disease and even death because of something that many of us take for granted.
Access to clean water is not just a human rights issue. It’s an environmental issue. An animal welfare issue. A sustainability issue. Water is a global issue, and it affects all of us.
- Water as a Human Right: In July, the United Nations declared access to clean water and sanitation a human right over objection from the United States. Today, nearly one billion people lack basic access to safe drinking water. More Info »
- Women: In Africa, women are predominantly responsible for collecting water. They walk over 40 billion hours each year carrying cisterns weighing up to 40 pounds to gather water for their community, which is usually still not safe to drink. More Info »
- Children: Every week, nearly 38,000 children under the age of 5 die from unsafe drinking water and unhygienic living conditions. More Info »
- Polluted Oceans: Not only is pollution bad for the environment, it’s also expensive! Death and disease caused by polluted coastal waters costs the global economy $12.8 billion a year. More Info »
- Uninhabitable Rivers: Today, 40% of America’s rivers and 46% of America’s lakes are too polluted for fishing, swimming, or aquatic life. That’s not surprising considering the fact that 1.2 trillion gallons of untreated sewage, storm water, and industrial waste are discharged into US waters annually. More Info »
- Food Footprint: Do you know the water footprint of your food? For example, 75 liters of water are required to make a glass of beer and 15,500 liters to make a kilogram of beef. More Info »
- Water Wars: Many scholar, researchers and political analysts attribute the conflict in Darfur at least in part to lack of access to water. In fact, a report commissioned by the UN Development Program found that in the 21st century, water scarcity will become one of the leading causes of conflict in Africa. More Info »
- Water & Poverty: A lack of water contributes to poverty, with parents and children too ill or too busy collecting water to go to school and work. Water poverty also undermines progress poor countries are making on health – with half of hospital beds taken by people suffering with diarrhoea and dysentery. More Info »
- Technology Footprint: On an average day, 500 billion liters of water travel through US power plants to power all the technology that we use every day. For example, that shiny new iPhone in your pocket requires half a liter of water to charge. That may not seem like much, but with approximately 6.4 million active iPhones in the US, that’s 3.2 million liters to charge those alone. More Info »
- Bottled Water: Even though people in the US have access to clean water from their taps, they drink 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 percent of which will never be recycled. More Info »
- Farmers vs. Animals: As water becomes scarcer in Africa, farmers not only compete with each other but also with other animals, including elephants. Forced into close contact with farmers, elephants destroy crops and wreak havoc on agriculture, causing farmers in turn to resort to violence in order to protect their crops and water sources. More Info »
- Fashion Footprint: That cotton t-shirt you’re wearing right now took 400 gallons of water to produce, and your jeans required an extra 1800 gallons. Not wearing cotton? The dyes and synthetic fibers used to make your clothes create waste that’s among the many contributors to water pollution. More Info »
- Water Celebrities: A number of celebrities have taken up the cause of water and water rights, including Matt Damon , Adrian Grenier , Leonardo DiCaprio , and Will & Jada Smith .
Goal of Blog Action Day – First and last, the purpose of Blog Action Day is to create a discussion. We ask bloggers to take a single day out of their schedule and focus it on an important issue.
Founding Story – Blog Action Day was founded by Collis & Cyan Ta’eed in the summer of 2007. With the support of their team at Envato in Australia as well as numerous volunteers, they recruited thousands of bloggers to write about the issue of Environment on October 15, 2007 – making the first Blog Action Day an immediate and quite unexpected success.
In 2009, Collis & Cyan asked the team at Change.org, the world’s leading blog network for social issues, to take over responsibility of Blog Action Day and expand its reach. We were honored to accept the offer and are excited to be taking over the operations of Blog Action Day 2010.