My contribution to water shortage, its contamination and its waste.


Roughly two weeks ago we traveled Northwest to the state of Jalisco to capture the stories of communities facing different battles over water. We met a family who stands tall in the face of giants, corporate and governmental. Indomitable, they’ve chosen to make a life out of their fight to help keep their local river clean. We also met members of a small village whose land stands in the way of a lofty water deal for the local government. The women we spoke to showed us that unity and courage are their weapons of choice in their fight to save their homes, the homes that have been in their families for generations.

Though the stories came from different people, from the North of Mexico to the South, of different ages and with different experiences, their struggle, their fight, resonates with me. So I ask myself, “Why have I been so disconnected from all this?”

Before becoming a Peacebuilder I never thought about water. I never felt deprived of it: never have I turned on the knob in a shower wondering if there’d be water for my use, not to mention hot water. I never felt the fear of getting sick from it: never have I thought twice about whether the tall glass of water I drink after a workout is safe to drink, or if the water I use when opening the faucet to wash my hands might give me a rash or cause cancer. I’ve never even thought about recycling it: I don’t save the water after washing dishes or taking a bath, to wash clothes or mop. I’ve always simply had water. So I never thought about my need for it, about it’s place in my everyday life.

As a human rights advocate, I’m use to thinking about problems in terms of people and the deprivation of some right. Of a protagonist and an antagonist. Someone to defend and someone to blame. But when it comes to water, there is no single victim. No single perpetrator. There is no living thing on earth that can survive without it, and because of it, water is itself an entity. A fundamental building block for life. Yet, millions don’t have access to clean drinking water, thousands of children die daily around the world from contaminated water, and still globally governments are planning to privatize it.

Now, after weeks of researching water issues in Mexico and listening to the water stories affecting entire communities, I realize I’ve played a part in all this. I’ve contributed to its scarcity, its contamination, its waste and its disproportionate supply. Whether it’s because I’ve paid little to no attention to water regulation in the past, take 30-minute showers, fail to participate in water preservation programs, or throw away that not quite empty water bottle that’s been sitting in the car for a month, every misuse and inattentive behavior adds-up. For 28 years, I’ve been ignorant of this. Now is my time to stop contributing to the bad and to make a difference for the good. To make the small changes that can affect myself and many others for generations to come.

  1. #1 by Kant Singh on July 29, 2014 - 11:48 pm

    Hi there,

    Nice information. Carry research on water.

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