This post was written by New Global Citizens intern Linnea Bennett.
Water is one of the world’s most precious and fascinating resources. It composes 71% of the Earth’s surface and is a vital resource for life on Earth. It is also something that we in first-world countries take for granted every day. We use it without thinking; washing dishes, taking showers, watering our plants, sprinkling our lawns and golf courses, irrigating crops, even turning the faucet on to a drizzle to let our kittens take a drink.
Though we have the luxury of using water without any second-thoughts, much of the world fights to find and use this resource every day. In Africa alone, 345 million people lack access to clean water. Globally, that number climbs to 783 million people without access to clean water and 2.5 billion people without access to adequate sanitation. People, mostly women, walk miles a day to find water and carry it home to their villages and families. Many girls are taken out of school to complete this task. Furthermore, 3.4 million people die from water-related diseases every year. Can you imagine how many lives could be saved or improved if even half of those people had consistent access to clean water?
There are other issues to consider on today’s World Water Day. Of all the water in the world, 96.5% is held in our world’s oceans. But our oceans are constantly in danger with the threat of oil spills, pollution, climate change, acidification, and dead zones forming from fertilizer runoff. We also can’t forget the effects of the 46,000 pieces of plastic that litter every square mile of the ocean.
These statistics are staggering — but with help from committed, empowered, Global Citizens like you, we can make a difference. NGC works with a number of grassroots organizations who help bring clean water into communities all around the world. We also support a number of organizations committed to environmental conservation and saving important ecosystems like our oceans, rivers, and streams. We encourage you to look into these organizations, get involved, educate your community, or fundraise for a group that especially speaks to you!
Happy World Water Day, from the NGC staff to you.