This summer, we were lucky during all of our travels to spend a great deal of time near or in water. Matt and I started off with a five-day cruise up the California coast. Then we all spent a glorious weekend swimming in, boating on, and walking by Lake Leman in Switzerland. We swam in the North Atlantic outside Bordeaux and got soaked in a violent and sudden rainstorm in the Tuileries in Paris. And during our three weeks in Vermont we spent more time in or around the Mad River than out of it.
We were also of course fortunate enough to always have plenty to drink on those hot summer days, to wash the sand out of our clothes without thinking too much about it, to boil ear after ear of sweet corn, to take showers after days in the sun. We didn’t have to work for any of our water – it was just there for the asking whenever we needed it.
Clean, fresh water for swimming, bathing, drinking, cooking, sanitation – there’s no time like summer to make me appreciate this essential element. And as the summer comes to a close, what better time is there to help make sure that more families have access to it?
Because the fact of the matter is that my family and I are tremendously privileged in a world that simply does not have enough clean water. The facts are staggering. For instance, according to Water.org:
- Over three and half million people around the world die each year from water-borne illness.
- Eight hundred and eighty four million people – or nearly three times the population of the United States – lack access to clean water.
- Slum dwellers around the world pay five to ten times more per liter of water than their wealthier neighbors do
But more than these numbers, which can be overwhelming, I like to think about the individual women who have to walk nearly four miles every day to get water for their families.
I think of how for me and my family going to the water is a chance to play and refresh – but for these women a visit to the water is the difference between life and death.
So here’s the practical part, the part where we can all work to make a difference for these individual women. Did you know that a donation of merely $25 could bring one of them water for life? The money raised by Water.org goes directly into water-poor communities around the world to provide sustainable, ongoing solutions to the water crisis.
Over the next ten days, you’ll be seeing me, along with a number of other bloggers from a great organization called The Mission List, talk a lot about water on Facebook and Twitter. It’s my goal to raise enough money to help ten people get water for life. How can you help? You can donate to the fundraiser, pass the word along to your friends and family, or just learn more about the water crisis.
I may not be able to invite these families to join me in my summertime idylls, but if I can make sure that ten children have a cool drink of clean water in the searing sun every day for the rest of their lives, that will feel as cleansing and joyous as any jump into the river ever does. I hope you’ll join me.