World Water Day

Posted on March 19, 2009 by


The most visible body of water in the Phillippines near my family, the Pasig River, was killed by industrial and infrastructure development in a matter of 30 years.  My mom said that back in her day, people swam and fished in it.  Now, it’s little more than a large sewer system.

When I visited way back when I was 13, there was no such thing as hot water, unless you spent 10 minutes boiling it.  No shower, just a bucket and a big scooper of water called a tabo.

Other than that, least on my mom’s side, they’d save water in a big bucket for the rest of the day for cleaning, bathing, and other everyday usage.  My families there aren’t exactly slumdog millionaire because they have vehicles, tvs, and enough money to get by, but I did have to temper and slow down my usage of water while there.

If you think water conservation and privatization is an issue for American hippie environmentalist idealist white people, Mos Def, way back on the classic Black on Both Sides, best expressed rhythmically and poetically the spirit behind a world awareness day for water.

Man, you gotta cook with it, bathe and clean with it (That’s right)
When it’s hot, summertime you fiend for it (Let em know)
You gotta put it in the iron you steamin with (That’s right)
It’s what they dress wounds and treat diseases with (Shout it out)
The rich and poor, black and white got need for it (That’s right)
And everybody in the world can agree with this (Let em know)
Consumption promotes health and easiness (That’s right)
Go too long without it on this earth and you leavin it (Shout it out)
Americans wastin it on some leisure shit (Say word?)
And other nations be desperately seekin it (Let em know)

A lot of people forget that, so it’s good to remind everyone once in a while.  Hence,

World Water Day.

Sunday, March 22nd.

In Los Angeles, to celebrate World Water Day there’s going to be a March at:

Rio de Los Angeles State Historic Park
1900 N. San Fernando Road
Los Angeles, CA 90065
12 PM – 3 PM

A day of awareness for overlooked facts and patterns about water:

  • Lots of people in the world do not have access to clean water.   Last year, we took a 3 mile walk carrying quite a few gallons of water weighing up to 40 lbs to symbolically emulate the long walks taken by many people in the world just for access to water.
4500 Children a day lost because of dirty water

4500 Children a day lost because of dirty water

  • Lots of people die because of water-borne diseases that could be prevented.  According to Food and Water Watch, 2 million people die of diseases caused by a lack of clean water.
Nearly 20% of the World's population lacks access to safe drinking water

Nearly 20% of the World's population lacks access to safe drinking water

  • The mega-corporations involved in the water business steal, pollute the communities and nations in which they reside, and sell it back to us via bottled water.  According to Food and Water Watch, up to 40% of bottled water is actually just municipal water that’s been packaged.  I’m not sure I want to give a complicated justification as to why I’m interested in water privataization other than this:  it just ain’t right.  This is the most important point because it’s basically people having lots of power preventing average people, usually born into certain situations, from getting the stuff they need.  This can be applied across various context.   The film For the Love of Water, FLOW, my favorite movie of 2008, conversed about water privatization and practices in Bolivia, India, Africa, and here in the United States:

While water might be seen as a poor 3rd world brown person’s issue and a mere statistic of ooh and ahh, it actually hits quite close to home.

Maude Barlow, author of books on water privatization, said in an interview:

TL: You said 36 states in the U.S. are water stressed — what does that actually mean for the people who live there?

MB: Well, in a dire case, literally running out of water. In many other cases, the predictions are that the demand will increase seriously and they’ve got to start planning. I quote in the book that the demand in Florida is growing so much and overpumping is happening so much that there are actually sink holes opening up and swallowing homes and streets and sometimes whole shopping centers. It is called subsidence. Mexico City is sinking in on itself because all the water under the city has been taken out and now they are going farther afield pumping water.

It can go from that kind of crisis, or as in some communities in the Midwest, you face having no water to the Chicago area, where the demand is going to grow hugely, and therefore the demand will be on the Great Lakes, which are already in trouble. There are four trillion liters taken out of the Great Lakes every single day and believe me, nature is not putting a trillion gallons back in. It is not rocket science that we are not allowing nature to refill and replenish. And now there are new demands on the Great Lakes because communities and industries off the basin are now demanding access to it.

Even with a drought in Los Angeles, getting water in the land of milk and honey is pretty easy to overlook because it comes easily and in relative abundance:  thru our faucets, whether at home or even our public spaces.  Getting water is an unconscious procedure that we’re really close to falling asleep on.  Corporations have found a way to enter that collective unconscious procedure and have been building our dependence on bottled water and are aiming for a lot more. The potential for them is to take that abundance in its entirety, so that we depend on them not only for manufactured human desires, but now basic human needs.

Imagine that…life…sponsored by Nestle!

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