Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Water, water all around, but not a drop to drink.

Do we really think about water?  

Do we care when we take a long shower?  Do we tell our parents to turn off the sprinkler after a long time?  When we're relaxing in a pool are we thinking about people who don't even have a glass of water?  Probably not.  

Maybe there are a few of us who do, but really, do we really?  But mainly because it's hard to understand what it's like to not have water.  It's free...or so we think.  We just turn on the faucet and out it comes, I wish I could turn on a faucet and have clothes come out or candy or something.  And that's how it is in other places of the world...people wish water would come out of their faucet.  Or wish they had a faucet.

The United Nations Environmental Programme says "About one third of the world’s population lives in countries with moderate to high water stress with disproportionately high impacts on the poor." (UNEP's Freshwater Homepage)

And you might be surprised to find out that countries surrounded by water don't even have's because in many cases they don't have money to desalinize their water.  Desalinization is a process that removes salt and other minerals from saltwater making it potable.  Or in some countries, no infrastructure exists for sewage or waste disposal, which leads to contamination of drinking water.  

The blue represents places that do not face water scarcity, the yellow countries face some and the countries in red face the most.  The divide is obvious.

Much of what these countries need is education.  In Uganda and Sri Lanka, locals faced the water issue by collecting rainwater from banana tree leaves, in other places people purchased sheets of metal and made homemade gutters.  These ideas work and are a small step towards progress, but it's not intuitive.  People need to be educated about this.  Think about it, where would you get water from if it didn't just come out everyday?

So maybe we should take five minutes less in the shower, because water is scarce.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I'll take some international relations please...

I've been studying international relations at Boston University for the past four years, learning about it since I was a kid sitting on top of a big cardboard map which was my favorite toy and articulating their complexities at my internship where I help other high school kids understand them.

International affairs are a need-to-know.  Without 'em we've got nothing. history.  That's why I'm studying world affairs and why I work at a non-profit that helps teach high school kids about world affairs.  

And the more I put together materials at work about particular issues, the more I feel like I have an obligation to share my analysis of these issues with other people.  Next year I'll be in grad school learning about international communication--why?  Because without communication this world is going no where.  And if I didn't communicate my thoughts and ideas for this world to someone that would be hypocrisy.  This is my attempt to share my thoughts on what's happening and what's not happening, but really should be happening in this world that we live in.