The theme for the Social Justice Challenge in February is WATER.
Here are the questions to start off the month:
What is the first thought that comes to your mind when you think of Water as a social justice issue?
What, if any, exposure have you personally had to a water shortage?
What potential action steps can you think of that relate to this month’s theme of Water?
My first though about water as a social justice issue is the lack of it. Here in the United States, even in times of drought, we take for granted that we have fresh, clean water to drink. But in many developing countries, water is a scarce resource. Water = Life. We cannot live without it. And yet many people from around the world do not have clean water to drink, and suffer illness and even death from drinking contaminated water.
I live in California, so I am familiar with drought and water shortages. When I first moved to California in 1989, it was in the midst of a significant drought. We found ourselves saving bath water to flush our toilets and our water was rationed in terms of tough, high costs aimed at those who used too much. I remember feeling mostly annoyed by the whole thing; and despite the shortages, we never really went without.
I’ve already decided on my action step for this month. As everyone knows, Haiti is suffering in the aftermath of a horrible earthquake. Even before this disaster, they were classified as one of the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere. Living Water International writes:
Earthquakes destroy water systems. Pipelines break, electrical distribution systems fail, and hand-dug wells–—already questionable water sources–—are rendered useless or become contaminated with cholera, typhoid, and other waterborne diseases.
They are partnering with several other organizations “to repair 500 incapacitated handpumps in Haiti during 2010, serving at least 250,000 people.”
The coalition of water organizations that are partnering to multiply their effect on Haitian communities include Global Benefit, Mercy Water (working with Nspire Software), Wishing Well, Hydrate Hope Project (through I AM CHANGE), The Water Project, and Safewater Nexus.
I am planning to donate through one of these organizations to help Haiti recover its water supply.
I’ll leave you with this moving video provided by Hydrate Hope: