This year Audiotuts+ is taking part in Blog Action Day to raise awareness about clean water and water conservation. Blog Action Day is a worldwide initiative started by Envato founders Collis and Cyan Ta’eed, now being run by Change.org.
I don't know about you, but this year I've seen major changes regarding how much water and electricity cost. In a move to encourage a wiser use of resources, water and electricity costs have skyrocketed. I've also been bombarded with telemarketers informing me about new Government incentives that raise awareness and offer assistance. And this hasn't been entirely unappreciated - as a result I have received free home insulation, and free advice about how we can receive money. I live in Queensland, Australia. Have you had similar experiences where you live?
The result of all of this is that I'm now more aware of conserving resources than ever before. And we've made some changes around the household to make a difference. It feels good! But I stopped feeling so good when I realised many of the world's population are in a very different situation to mine. While I'm trying to conserve water to reduce my bill, they've never had clean water, plumbing or a toilet. That's disturbing.
In this post I'll look a few ways we as musicians can make a difference. But first let's have a look at how big the problem is.
The Global Problem
Clean water is essential. Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of diseases and kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Children are especially vulnerable, as their bodies aren't strong enough to fight diarrhea, dysentery and other illnesses. The UN predicts that one tenth of the global disease burden can be prevented simply by improving water supply and sanitation.
Have a look at this video:
Blog Action Day 2010 list five facts that illustrate the severity of the global water problem:
Unsafe drinking water and lack of sanitation kills more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Unclean drinking water can incubate some pretty scary diseases, like E. coli, salmonella, cholera and hepatitis A. Given that bouquet of bacteria, it's no surprise that water, or rather lack thereof, causes 42,000 deaths each week.
More people have access to a cell phone than to a toilet. Today, 2.5 billion people lack access to toilets. This means that sewage spills into rivers and streams, contaminating drinking water and causing disease.
Every day, women and children in Africa walk a combined total of 109 million hours to get water. They do this while carrying cisterns weighing around 40 pounds when filled in order to gather water that, in many cases, is still polluted. Aside from putting a great deal of strain on their bodies, walking such long distances keeps children out of school and women away from other endeavors that can help improve the quality of life in their communities.
It takes 6.3 gallons of water to produce just one hamburger. That 6.3 gallons covers everything from watering the wheat for the bun and providing water for the cow to cooking the patty and baking the bun. And that's just one meal! It would take over 184 billion gallons of water to make just one hamburger for every person in the United States.
The average American uses 159 gallons of water every day – more than 15 times the average person in the developing world. From showering and washing our hands to watering our lawns and washing our cars, Americans use a lot of water. To put things into perspective, the average five-minute shower will use about 10 gallons of water. Now imagine using that same amount to bathe, wash your clothes, cook your meals and quench your thirst.
If you'd like to learn more, check out Blog Action Day's Why Water page.
How You Can Help
Would you like to do something about that? Here are six do-able ways you can make a difference:
1. Sign the Petition
Sign a petition to support the United Nation’s work to supply clean, safe drinking water to the world’s poorest populations and urge UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to continue the UN’s life-saving work bringing water and sanitation to developing nations.
2. Put a Widget on Your Website
Grab a widget and embed it on your site to show your support of Blog Action Day 2010 and clean water access. It will raise awareness and encourage others to sign the petition.
3. Send a Tweet
Tweet about what you’re doing to conserve water. Tweet to raise awareness about water and Blog Action Day. Use the hashtag #BAD10.
4. Blog About It
Blog Action Day is a bloggers movement. "On October 15, thousands of bloggers across more than 100 countries will participate in Blog Action Day to debate, brainstorm and raise awareness around clean water. Bloggers will take a single day and use it to write about the event’s chosen cause."
5. Fundraise / Donate Money
Whether you'd like to donate money or encourage others to (hopefully both!), check out Blog Action Day's Fundraise page. You'll find links to both start a fundraising page and donate $25.
100% of the money raised goes to build new wells, and provide clean water and toilets to those who don't have them.
6. Save Water in Your Household
Here is a good list from Mashable to get you saving water in your own home:
- Take shorter showers: You can save up to 25 gallons of water a day by cutting 5 minutes off your shower time.
- Turn off the tap: Turning off the tap while you’re brushing your teeth or shaving can save about 8 gallons a day.
- Sweep instead of hose: Don’t hose down your driveway or sidewalk. Use a broom!
- Landscape wisely: Climate-appropriate plants need significantly less water.
- Slow the flow: Replacing showerheads with low-flow models and putting inexpensive aerators on faucets can cut water use by up to 20 percent.
Have you taken part in Blog Action Day? Have you been inspired to take any of the above steps? Let us know in the comments.