Blog Action Day 2010

It’s Blog Action Day once more and this year the theme is… Water.

Water, or rather lack thereof, causes 42,000 deaths each week. 90 per cent of these are children under the age of five: some 3,800 lives cut short every single day because the poor mites drank unsafe water and lacked the most basic of sanitation facilities, amounting to 1.4 million child deaths annually.

Needlessly. Appallingly.

Such frustrating facts, yet the truth is that unclean water and inadequate sanitation actually claim more lives each year than all forms of violence combined, including war (although a 1999 report commissioned by the UN found that scarcity of water, rather than oil, will become the leading cause of conflict in Africa over the next quarter of a century).

Nearly a billion people, still, in 2010 for goodness sake, lack access to clean water, which leads to many a disease, many of them entirely preventable. That’s about one in eight of us. It causes 80 per cent of diseases, such as typhoid, E. coli, salmonella, cholera and Hepatitis A, and accounts for half the world’s hospitalisations at any given moment.

I have plenty more facts and stats to make you feel queasy, don’t you worry.

The ancient Romans had better quality water than half the people alive right now.

A child born in sub-Saharan Africa is 520 times more likely to die from such diseases than a child born in Europe or the USA.

Diarrhoea kills more young children than AIDS, malaria and measles combined.

Consider, if you will, that more people presently have access to a mobile phone than to a toilet. Some 2.5 billion people haven’t the dignity provided by a simple a lavatory. Obviously this means that waste spills into rivers and streams, further contaminating water supplies. And did you know that there can be more than a million germs contained in every gram of human faeces?

Meanwhile, as industrialised countries consume much, much more than their fair share (about fifteen times as much), every day, African women and children spend a combined total of 109 million hours walking to retrieve water – which is rarely safe for their consumption. This necessitates carrying great weight often for a great distance. Aside from the considerable strain on their bodies, this thoroughly depressing routine keeps children out of school; 443 million school days are lost because of diseases caused by lack of water and sanitation.

The average person in the developed world uses 465 litres of water per day. Five minutes spent in the shower accounts for about 45 litres of the stuff, which is more than a typical person in a developing country will use in an entire day.

Your iPhone requires half a litre of water to charge. There are over 80 million iPhones in the world, so that’s 40 million litres just to periodically charge them.

It takes approximately 24 litres of water to produce a solitary hamburger.

Then there’s bottled water. The USA, Mexico and China lead the world in its consumption, with 200 bottles consumed per person per year in the US on average. Over 17 million barrels of oil are needed to manufacture the bottles, 86 per cent of which will never be recycled, which has previously caused me to irately leap onto my soap box (for Earth Day earlier this year).

In July this year, the United Nations declared access to clean water and sanitation a human right “essential to the full enjoyment of life and all other human rights.” Better late than never, as they say. Let’s not forget that little more than a century ago, New York, London and Paris, those three great thriving hubs of civilisation, were rife with disease. Child death rates were as high then as they are now in much of sub-Saharan Africa. Funny how improvements can be made so swiftly when the children of the comparatively privileged are dying in large numbers, isn’t it?

If you are the diligent, compassionate and caring being I believe you to be, please commit to using a little less water from now on. Your tips and gadgets welcome. A water butt isn’t going to fit under the Christmas tree, it’s true, but it would make a great gift for someone green-fingered, I think.

You might find this Water Footprint Calculator helpful. It estimates the total amount of water you use – your water footprint – if you provide some information about your water use and habits. (A link to non-US/metric calculator, here.)

If you can spare an hour, there’s a rather shocking film called A World Without Water that should be compulsory viewing in all schools, I believe. If you can only spare three minutes, watch this instead.

Perhaps you could take thirty seconds at most to help call on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to accelerate the UN’s commitment to halve the number of people without sustainable access to clean water and safe sanitation by 2015. We’re talking about something as simple and relatively affordable as a well and a latrine here; things we take for granted no matter where we go. The economic return of investing in improved access to safe drinking water was believed by the World Health Organization to be ten-fold in 2008, so why is it taking so long?

Clean water alone would reduce water-related deaths by 21 per cent. Think of that when you’re taking a shower or listening to your coffee boil.

And when you’re next out walking the dog, imagine you’re on your way to collect some cloudy, dirty water to give your kids to drink and bathe in; knowing that it could well make them sick, but it’s all you have access to. Imagine the burden of 20kg (perhaps that’s what your dog weighs, try carrying him) on the way back home. Consider for just one moment that the money you’ll next spend without giving it a second thought on pizza could provide someone with a clean supply of water for 20-odd years, and that would at least make all their future journeys far less painful.

(I don’t know exactly how much water will go into producing your next pizza or mine, so I’m somewhat relieved to inform you that I cannot make you, or myself, feel doubly guilty at this point.)

All I can say with a degree of certainty and strong conviction is that, for so many to succumb to preventable water-borne diseases in the year 2010 is a global disgrace in which we are all implicated, whether we choose to accept it or not.

Now, as this blog proudly carries the name of a musician, how about some suitable songs and lyrics interspersed with the serious to lighten the mood a little? I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether to be sombre or sanguine in your commenting, but there’s no getting away from Dylan’s epic ‘A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall’:

“Where the people are many and their hands are all empty
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters

Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten
Where black is the colour, where none is the number

It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.”


Have a pleasant weekend, everyone. I’m sorry that there was no chat this week; the next one’s on Tuesday, should you be able to join me for it.

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour’s official blog, The Blog (‘Features’ previously being its rather naff title), affectionately – or lazily – shortened to ‘FEd’.

53 thoughts on “Blog Action Day 2010”

  1. So I take it you feel strongly about clean water and sanitation for all, then Fed?

    I can’t say that I disagree with you but, there is always a but isn’t there? As a bit of a story, before our daughter left home to go to Uni, we had a meter fitted to our water supply. Of course we started paying for the water we used then. Having nothing to measure against we tried to be careful, but I am not sure how successful we were. When she went to Uni we noticed a drop in our consumption which was disproportionate to there being one person less in the household! That sort of implies that our daughter was responsible for the majority of our consumption which is not true. I think we noticed a drop and so helped by being thrifty with our water.

    I do think that one of the problems in countries where they do not have a sanitary system such as ours is that the infrastructure needs to be there first. All too often we see images on the news of waste matter floating down the street because there is nowhere else for it. If this issue were addressed then perhaps the water sources would be cleaner and without germs in the first place. But you made the point Fed, before the 20th Century our country was very similar with the lack of sanitation. In some of the African countries the governing bodies are rich leaving nothing for the majority of the population.

    Perhaps it is those people who we should be addressing our frustration with, for if they invested in their own infrastructure they may solve the problem.

    1. I agree with Julian. There’s too much corruption in Africa. African rulers are letting their people suffer. Let’s deal with them first.

  2. There of course is a song called “The Blue” by an up and coming young musician called David Gilmour.

    – Flowers in the Rain by The Move
    – Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head – by someone insignificant!
    – A Rainy Night in Soho – by The Pogues
    – A Day Without Rain – Enya
    – Smoke on the Water – Deep Purple
    – Fire and Water – Free
    – Bridge Over Troubled Waters – Simon & Garfunkel

    1. I always liked this one, by Pete Townshend: ‘The Sea Refuses No River’.

      “The sea refuses no river
      We’re polluted now but in our hearts, still clean
      The sea refuses no river
      We tried not to age
      But time had it’s rage
      We’re washed over stones
      From babes into clones of the mean”

  3. I do hope that Live Aid and Live 8 have contributed to this urgent need around the world.

    At home, we have a shower head that reduces the amount of water used and it is still a better shower. A Brita filter that attaches to our kitchen sink eliminates bottled water also.

    1) Love Reign O’er Me – The Who
    2) Rain Song – Led Zeppelin
    3) River of Tears – Eric Clapton
    4) Who’ll Stop The Rain – CCR
    5) Nile Song – Pink Floyd

    Have a great weekend everyone! 😀

  4. ‘Lo All.

    Sorry again, but piss on the chips. Yes Fed: Agreed. Unbelievable statistics!

    I gave “Water Aid” money, after the Tsunami. Because it’s simple. Water = Life. A good friend of mine was out there somewhere, he survived. Unscathed and untouched. Luckily… I however was bombarded with Glossy Litter through my letter box, for months after, from said Charity! After numerous telephone calls, at my expense, it stopped. The whole affair left me feeling a little empty to be honest, considering the issue.

    On a higher note however, Me Ears have had some good exercise the past few days.

    Have fun all! x

  5. Great post, very informative and complete, once again. Thank you.

    I also think that water, because of its rarefaction/climate change, will be more and more a source of conflict between (and within) nations in the world.

    In Africa, of course, but there are so many other examples already now: between China, Nepal and India (over Himalayan water), between Turkey and Syria (the Euphrates river), in the Middle East, etc…

    Last year, Amnesty International accused Israel of denying Palestinians the right to access adequate water.

    Funnily enough (well, not that funny), in the meantime, a team of two scientists, one from Israel and one from Palestine were working together to increase access to clean water supply in the Middle East… Oh, bravo!

    Song: ‘Goodbye To A River’ by Don Henley.

    1. Good song choice.

      “The rains have come early, they say
      We’re all gonna wash away
      Well, that’s all right with me
      If heaven’s torrent can wash clean
      The arrogance that lies unseen
      In the damage done since we have gone
      Where we ought not to be
      Goodbye to a river”

  6. Very well written, it is a shame.

    I’m in the USA and haven’t showered in a week, frustrated over losing my job last week, I guess. Really letting myself go, but I’m saving water right? The unemployment levels are inaccurate. The government, I do not trust their numbers. I moved from Chicago to Philly for work about a year ago. Looking for work here now, thinking about going back home, but I have tickets for The Wall show every night in Philly, maybe come back to where Comfortably Numb originated?

    Wish you the best, safe travels.

  7. I think Water must be to everyone!

    In Italy, for example, someone would privatize it.

    Water = business. I’m very shocked about this! 😡

    Fortunately in my Country, there are many reasonable people that work to stop “Privatize water” and I support this Campaign. Here is the link (only in Italian, sorry; I can’t find English version).

    Have a good weekend to you FEd and my friend Bloggers! 🙂

    Bye, Hydrea

    1. How about ‘Acid Rain’ by the thrash band D.R.I.? (Does it really mean ‘Dirty Rotten Imbeciles’?) 😮

      Will our children look back
      With hatred or despair
      At a generation of idiots
      Who just didn’t care
      About the fossil fuel fumes
      And the aerosol sprays
      That put holes in the ozone
      And let in the rays
      That can cause cancer in humans?
      And what is it all worth
      Heating up our globe
      Destroying our own Earth?
      What will they think
      Of us with no concern
      About the seas of shit
      And radiation burn?
      We who watched
      The waters of the world
      Turn to lakes of lava
      Killing every form of life?
      Will they have regrets
      For being born at all
      Into a world where only
      Acid rain can fall
      On all the empty fields
      And on the vacant lots
      Where cockroaches and crab grass
      Are the only crops?
      Acid rain dissolving away
      The monuments of man
      Run for your lives!

      Acid rain
      Smell the rain coming?
      Acid rain
      Run for cover now!
      Acid rain
      The water is on fire!
      Acid rain


  8. Pretty sobering numbers FEd. I live in Michigan where about a quarter of the world’s fresh water supply is all around us. Things I take for granted millions go without.

    We still have trouble with cities dumping raw sewage into our rivers and lakes whenever we get heavy rainfalls. Refineries dumping sludge and chemicals into the Great Lakes. We in Michigan and our bordering states and our Canadian friends are passionate about preserving this great resource.

    And don’t get me started on invasive species that get dumped into our lakes from the ballast of freighters.

    I use water saving shower heads, new aereators on all of my faucets. Only do full loads of laundry. Make sure my septic system is functioning properly. Small things like this can really make a difference.

    As for songs with water the only one I can think of off the top of my head is Perfect Water by Blue Oyster Cult.

    Perfect water
    The dark wind braids the waves
    The crazed birds raid the trees
    Is this our destiny?

    To join our hands at sea
    And slowly sink
    And slowly think
    This is perfect water
    Passing over me.


  9. I think this could be useful.

    It gives interesting advice to aspirant eco-friendly peasants, too. 😀

    And here is another website I found.

    I had not enough time to read all its features, yet, but I’ve seen it also speaks about water privatization, a very important issue, in my opinion.

    As for water songs (chosen only by the title):

    – Pink Floyd – The Thin Ice
    – The Who – Water
    – Blind Melon – No Rain
    – Deep Purple – Smoke On The Water
    – Simon and Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water
    – Guns n’ Roses – November Rain

    Great post, FEd. Thanks for the video and for the link to the petition. I’ll surely sign it.

    1. 44. Don’t water your lawn on windy days when most of the water blows away or evaporates.


      One of my (many) pet-hates with hotels is how they assume that you want your bedding and towels replaced after just one night. Why do they do that?

      Good find, Alessandra.

      Sobering fact (from your second link): 12 per cent of the world’s population uses 85 per cent of its water.

    2. 81. If your toilet was installed before 1992, reduce the amount of water used for each flush by inserting a displacement device in the tank.

      Some water companies offer water saving advice, devices and freebies, see this one and this one.

      I agree with Fed Alessandra, a useful link. Some of these tips could become second nature.


    3. But many hotels (mostly in Mediterranean countries) have this message written in the bathroom:

      ” Please, save water. A towel on the rack means: ‘I’ll use it again. A towel on the floor or in the tub means, ‘please exchange.’ ”

      People can decide and make a difference.

      Hotels in all countries should do the same.

    4. Michèle:

      The hotels I’ve visited in Central Europe in the last couple of years had all those stickers. Maybe you’d call me pessimist, but I’ve always believed, and I still do, that they do it for the money and not for the environment. Of course I never let them wash before I’ve left or after one week, which at the end helps…

      Best regards,


      P.S. I consider to oversee this entry in future. Every time I start blogging, it starts raining. 😉

  10. Shocking statistics.

    The ancient Romans had better quality water than half the people alive right now.

    This is something we should be ashamed of in the developed world. How could we keep our fellow man living in the dark ages?

  11. Very interesting topic FEd. It’s a shame that clean and healthy water isn’t available to all citizens of this planet. 🙁

    I have to point out, that as climate, water availability depends on place on earth where people live. In my opinion, the issue is that in “third world” countries, water is wasted for industrial processes only because the workers are cheap there.

    It seems to me, and I’ve read some interesting reports about it, that it doesn’t make sense to reduce radically water consumption in countries that have it. The water in the river nearby where my water comes from, goes down the drain any way and lands in the oceans or the atmosphere, but not near a place where it would be needed. As expecting warmth and sun from southern for northern countries is nonsense, it seems the same to me not to take a shower and save that water for Africa…

    Here in Germany water works have to rinse their pipes in order to prevent contamination because people do not use enough water.

    I’m rather clueless what should be done, but I think leak proof water pipes (even in Europe up to 70% of the water is lost though leaks!), sanitary systems (very good point, Julian of Langley, BTW) and solar powered water works (for drinking water and not to water plants, or use in industrial processes) could help. I can also imagine, that transporting water to where it is needed would have major influence to climate if it would be possible at all.

    Having written the above, I have to state that my arguments do not excuse wasting resources in any way. My family and I do not drink bottled water when the water from the tap would do, we use and repair things until they fall in pieces.

  12. Following the examples above, I wrote down a small list of songs related to water:

    Bring Me Some Water – Melissa Etheridge
    Fire And Water – Free
    Dirty Water – Status Quo
    Rime Of The Ancient Mariner – Iron Maiden
    Desert Song – Michael Schenker

    Best regards,


    P.S. Ironically it is raining for hours now…

  13. Thank you for a great post Fed, obviously another topic which you feel very strongly about. 🙂

    The most abundant compound on our planet, 70% in fact, is water.

    It is unbelievable that people are still not able to access clean water. It really stuns me that humans have the knowledge to solve the problems of safe water, global warming, sustainable energy. We can drill for oil and gas, pipe it for hundreds of miles. We could build de-salination plants but build immense hotels or use the country’s wealth to fight over patches of dry land. WTF?

    I have a water meter fitted, a brick in the cistern and water butts. Taps are not left running in my house. I don’t know if it makes a big difference to British water resources but I feel guilty wasting water.

    I may have said this before. In the days before Britain had safe drinking water, the population made beer and drank that instead. The alcohol content made it safe. :))

    A song… still thinking…


  14. Absence of clean water and sanitation conditions in developing countries is an important issue to be sure. From some of the previous posts pointing to dissatisfaction with some of water delivery and sewer issues in western developed countries, it is not surprising how far behind is the provision of the most basic water and sanitation facilities in developing countries. I see wealthy communities in North America moan at providing money for maintenance to simply repaint a water storage tank; they should watch your video links.

    I think a large part of the problem is the problem of unstable government systems in the most desperate countries such as sub-Saharan Africa. The long-term solution will require a home grown infrastructure of engineers, planners, equipment suppliers, labs, etc. to maintain the needed infrastracture. Without stable government systems and with a brain drain of potential professionals leaving these countries for Europe or North America, I think this impedes a self-sustaining infrastructure from gaining traction in the most undeveloped countries.

    You might think of keeping tabs and attending international conferences such as the Stockholm World Water Week in the fall.

    I often doubt the utility of these gatherings as they seem to exist more for the benefit of the attendees than the target demographic most in need, but you may meet important decision makers there.

    Keep beating the drum about this issue.

    1. The long-term solution will require a home grown infrastructure of engineers, planners, equipment suppliers, labs, etc. to maintain the needed infrastructure.

      I completely agree with you, Robroy. This is a very important point.

      Some years ago, I had a teacher at university who was involved in international humanitarian projects. He often spent some months in Africa (I can’t remember the country) to help the local people to learn how to set, use and, if necessary, repair the irrigation systems donated by the UN.

      He once told us that one of those projects had failed after a few months, because of an instruction manual which was written in Chinese. No one could translate it, so the irrigation system couldn’t be repaired.

      It’s mad, isn’t it?

  15. Great Blog Action Day 2010 post. Here’s what I wrote.

    Individual Changes amount to Collective Impacts, so let’s create a positive ripple of change to save and protect water.

    Michelle Dunn AKA Dunn4good

    1. Thank you for sharing, Michelle.

      Good point about unnecessary chemicals ending up in our water supply. I made my own brass cleaner yesterday. I was very pleased with myself, if only moderately pleased with the cleaning result. Will keep trying, though; I appreciate the helpful links.

  16. Water is my element, especially the oceans, and aren’t many of David´s songs about the water, the sea, like “On an Island”? At least some references with the Blue Light.

    Speaking of Waters, pun intended, just read on the BBC that there is the possibility of a PF reunion?

  17. Hi Fed and all,

    Well, what a crazy world we live in. We are surrounded by bloody water and we can create great weapons to kill each other but we cannot invent something that could purify bloody sea water cheaply so we all benefit, i.e. offset sea levels. If we all drunk the stuff, bet we could even use it to bring arid lands back to life, but at the end of the day the pound, the dollar, the euro rules. That’s what’s important and that’s why we’re doomed.

    I think Roger would be a great ambassador for this programme, Fed – Mr Waters.


    Did that make sense?

    1. Hear hear Damien! It’s not the only reason humans are doomed. We are doomed because the people in a position to do something about water shortage or any problem may well be too naive or ill advised to see past their own immediate future wealth. It is almost an ‘I’m all right Jack’ attitude.

      To give an example, I saw this at first hand when I visited a very wealthy gulf state. An area of the planet which has had water shortage problems for thousands of years. This of course meant the nomadic peoples were limited in their ability to grow crops. For hundreds (thousands?) of years too poor perhaps to import it. Food and suitable environment naturally controls a population which can only grow so large then reaches a capacity.

      During the last 100 years or so, oil has changed all that. The people can now purchase food and water from abroad. They can put down roots in one place. They can afford to pay for air conditioning. They can have air conditioned cars. Life is significantly better for the people and they can now support larger families because conditions are not limiting the survival chances. More people needs more houses, roads, infra structure. The population is booming. This is marvellous for a people who have struggled in 50 C daytime temperatures to survive for thousands of years.

      What I also saw was huge land (from the sea) reclamation projects. Huge extremely luxurious hotels being built at a phenomenal rate. Huge shopping malls, all air conditioned. Petrol at 7pence (7 European cents) a litre. Bottled water at 150 pence a litre. Ancient aquifers are emptying, (I think there could be a risk of these subsiding and of course they will never be able to reform), the crops and trees they sustained are dead.

      It appeared to me, that the people were using the country’s wealth to live in the now and preparing for their future when the oil runs out, by building a tourist paradise and business centre to attract money from abroad. One of the bubbles of that idea burst a couple of years ago. International travellers and ex-pats can’t afford the luxurious houses and apartments many left, leaving behind the house they could not afford to make repayments on and the car at the airport carpark. Many building projects have suddenly halted.

      I would have thought they should invest on building de-salination plants, more schools, better housing for that part of the indigenous population that are currently outcast (but should have historical ownership of what has been found under their land !), the worlds best solar power harness array.

      With a booming indigenous population, how will they sustain it when the oil runs out? There will be famine and drought. Civil unrest, migration (what about political boundaries? wars over habitable land?) It worries me for them. They appear to be squandering their wealth instead of planning for the next century.

      Who cares about the next century? We’ll be dead by then. I bet someone else said that 100 years ago and 200 years ago about somewhere else on this planet.

      Sorry this is such a long comment. All of this is just my impression, I may have been wrong in my observation and conclusions.


    2. We are doomed because the people in a position to do something about water shortage or any problem may well be too naive or ill advised to see past their own immediate future wealth. It is almost an ‘I’m all right Jack’ attitude.

      You need look no further than those inglorious bastards leading our country right now, Ash.

      Is it wrong to hope that a few of them fall into their duck ponds, ruin their expensive clothes and catch something that keeps them on or around a toilet for a week or two? (Yes, I did edit this sentence more than once.)

  18. Once I watched people facing water shortages.

    About 8-10 years ago I worked as teacher in the children’s camp in Uzbekistan mountains. There I taught children from Karakalpakstan (Karakalpakstan is an ecological disaster zone due to the desiccation of the Aral Sea. And this is a poorest place in poor country Uzbekistan). They were about 7-10 years old. And, you know, those children were really surprised to see usual clear water, to drink it and use (then we even had no warm water, only cold). They could not understand, how it’s possible, because they never saw SO MUCH water. And some little children were afraid of water, and were afraid of washing.

  19. Thank you for the post, the video, the link and the warning FEd.

    I think the lack of water will cause the next terrible wars in the world.

    Water, food, climate changes and pollution… sometimes I’m so afraid for our children their reality – today – is so better than tomorrow…

    A hug against all

  20. Wealthy nations could improve water supplies in Africa. Easily. We just need to give up our beloved wars.

    My government spends about a billion dollars per day in Iraq and Afghanistan. One billion dollars per day. On wars in which we invaded sovereign nations. Ten years ago. These are wars of choice and are not about self defense at all. Where, after all, were the weapons of mass destruction? And in the wake of these wars and the wasted wealth, our own standard of living has taken a huge hit, as has our standing as world leaders.

    If that money were spent on water and other issues in Africa, imagine how much better their lives would be? The situation F’Ed writes about would be all gone, or mostly so. And we in America would be the world’s heroes, celebrated as no nation has ever been celebrated before.

    Our leaders chose, and still choose, to squander the money on death, destruction, mayhem. And the lives of millions of people in Africa are in jeopardy as a result. Our leaders do not value a quality human life. They value their own paranoid delusions of grandeur.

    1. I think you are right.

      But it’s useless to blame a government in all problems. Even if the government is blame. It doesn’t solve problems.

      We are not members of government, but we can help people. Just a bit. Maybe not African children. Just people near you.

    2. Anoska, I completely agree with your ideas that we need to get involved in order to solve problems. In many ways I do that. I’m an educator and am always talking to my students (not to mention anyone else who cares to listen) about things that interest or concern me. With my church, I have participated in fundraising for many of those same issues. Just yesterday my church raised thousands of dollars for Darfur by doing a concert. We’ve done everything from building a playground in the inner-city where an overgrown lot had been, to putting books in classrooms in Africa. But where I see our government misplacing its priorities, I have to call that like I see it.

      It does not mean our government should solve every problem without help from anyone else. It just means that our leaders are contributing to the problems rather than helping to solve them.

    3. This is not the right way.

      Look: usual people from poorest countries are starving and rich countries must help, because they feel sorry for people. But do you think, the money comes to people? Haha.

      Only some little group of senior officials firstly get and assign the money from rich country for poor people, then get and assign the money from poor people for paying the debt to rich country.

      As a result, countries who must get the debt, usually don’t get it in full size.

      People from poorest countries must work for this debt.

      And usually every poor country has several very… VERY rich people. 🙂

      And what does cancelling the debt bring? Nothing. When some corrupt official man wants more money, poorest countries get another one credit in other place.

      P.S. Sorry for my terrible English.

  21. I love the clip, really well done.

    Is this going on national media? Or is it considered too uncool and only proud genuine thinkers like David’s bloggers get to see it?

    It’s very simple, whoever is in power to contribute providing water basically decides if people will survive or succumb.

    In Sicily water scarce distribution used to be controlled by the Mafia, so they were able to influence the whole population and establish power.

    Nowadays we claim to have liberalized the utilities distribution on most civilized countries, supposedly meaning fair competition, balance of resources, international cooperation. Yes, please.

  22. I’m an organic gardener, but I’d like to do more. This fall I’m gong to install rain barrels that attach to our gutters to divert roof water directly to the garden.

    I’ve seen appalling waste, and have unknowingly contributed in various ways, correcting as I go. The worst I’ve seen? Corporate water buying water rights where springs were once local property in Wisconsin; dumping oil in the Gulf (I’m very concerned about future FRESH water issues because of the spill); and automatic water sprinklers in Hawaii regularly and unwittingly used in torrential tropical downpours!

    Here’s what we do to conserve water in the garden: we use compost as a weed and water-reducing mulch from the household and garden, in addition to flattened recycled boxes topped with home collected mulch. The boxes break down with time and both add nutrients to the soil.

    A few years ago, I learned old growth cypress trees in the US were being cut, shredded, dyed and bagged as mulch. If you have a garden, please: use that garden rake, and don’t buy bagged mulch!

    1. Good advice, Sharon.

      Rainwater is supposed to be much better for your garden, as it doesn’t contain chemicals, such as chlorine; and you can buy a relatively inexpensive water pump that you drop into the container as and when you need it, with a hose attached, which therefore allows you to use a hosepipe. The pressure may be less than what you’d get from having the hose connected to a tap, but it’s more than adequate for watering the garden.

  23. Here’s the way I see it…

    A small percentage of the so-called “intelligent” people of the world have created a system that diverts the wealth and assets of the planet into the pockets of a a small percentage of the population.

    The result is that the majority of the earth’s population suffers from poverty and premature death because of it.

    The wealthiest nations could EASILY build a factory and supply the water purification, collection and storage equipment for free to anyone that requires it.

    The trillions spent on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan could solve the water problems of people in need forever…

    Without thought we can spend trillions on weapons but not on people in dire need???

    The greater majority of so called “Civilized” people are greedy, selfish and fundamentally evil.

    Next time you are watching a sporting event on the boob tube, just think how much water has been used to create that picture perfect “green” that’s being played on…

    There’s your answer…

    Dog eat dog… Winners and losers… That’s what we teach our children.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same…

    The end.

  24. Speaking of shocking/disturbing films about the world water crisis, I remember a documentary I watched two years ago on French TV Arte, called ‘Flow, Pour l’Amour De l’Eau’ (Flow: For Love Of Water’).

    It shows -among other things- that water, so essential to life and health is actually becoming a tool in the hands of wealthy and greedy corporations who pretend to care about access to clean water for people but are only thinking of making more and more profit.

    They control water as if they owned it. They don’t. Water is a natural resource like sun and air.

    Now, yes, the United Nations have declared access to clean water and sanitation a human right but this surely won’t stop the greedy multinationals Vivendi, Suez, Thames Water, Nestle and Coca Cola from keeping stealing water to increase their profit.

    Here, ‘Flow: For Love of Water’, the full documentary in English.
    Here, ‘Flow, Pour l’Amour De l’Eau’, the full documentary in French.

    1. Thanks for the video, Michèle. I finally found the time to watch it and it was very interesting.

      The environmentalist Vandana Shiva also features in it. I studied some of her essays in the past, but I had never seen her. I imagined her as the typical academic, so it was surprising to see her there, wearing an Indian dress. I liked it. 🙂

  25. Coca Cola taking water reserves from a water poor country, probably because they can take that water more cheaply than if they took British water for example, really got to me. Thank you for the link to the video Fed.

    I am glad I don’t like fizzy drinks and don’t drink coke. To be honest I did enjoy it in a mixer for drinks for a few months but began to gain weight so went back to orange juice.

    I’m sure other people have noticed, you can buy cartons of orange juice in your supermarket but different varieties come at different prices. On closer inspection of the carton, it can be discovered that some orange juices, the most expensive, are ‘not from concentrate’. The least expensive ones are generally made from concentrate. This is the same for almost all the fruit juices on sale. Both types taste the same to me.

    Oranges grow in a different country so the juice or oranges are imported therefore the water they contain is removed from it’s place of origin. Juice from concentrate can be re-hydrated with abundant British water. I’d rather be drinking British water than the water from a country which is water poor.

    I haven’t gone on to research where the water actually comes from because this has only just occurred to me.


  26. Sub-Saharian Africa is in the hands of dictators and rebels, until people there won’t get rid of them we can’t really help them, though. Many times I wonder where all the charity goes and I can’t find the answer, well, I have an answer… (off-topic but it’s what I think).

    You said the truth, we should think more often about the waste in our houses and generally in our society, in our lifestyle, and all the things you wrote with your heart must not be swept under the carpet tomorrow. Health and education are the basic needs for all the people in the world, and water is life. If we follow some simple rules we can help thousands and thousands and thousands of people to SURVIVE.

    Does it cost too much? No, it doesn’t.

  27. Great post.

    There’s a wonderful song that starts with a gurgling stream called “Sing Swan Song” by a ’70s group called CAN that is fabulous…

  28. You are only coming through in waves, Fed! 😀

    Thank you for the pump suggestion!

    Here are some Watery titles!

    “Grantchester Meadows” by Pink Floyd
    “Southampton Dock” by Pink Floyd
    “Seashell and Stone” by Roger Waters
    “Rain” by the Beatles
    “Bus Stop” by the Hollies
    “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” by CCR
    “Born on the Bayou” by CCR
    “Walk on Water” by CCR

  29. One more song: “Don’t Go Near The Water”, by The Beach Boys.

    “Don’t go near the water
    Don’t you think it’s sad
    What’s happened to the water
    Our water’s going bad

    Oceans, rivers, lakes and streams
    Have all been touched by man
    The poison floatin’ out to sea
    Now threatens life on land

    Don’t go near the water
    Ain’t it sad
    What’s happened to the water
    It’s going bad

    Don’t go near the water
    Don’t go near the water

    Toothpaste and soap will make our oceans a bubble bath
    So let’s avoid an ecological aftermath
    Beginning with me
    Beginning with you

    Don’t go near the water
    To do it any wrong
    To be cool with the water
    Is the message of this song

    Let’s all help the water
    Right away
    Do what we can and ought to
    Let’s start today”

    They were already singing this song in 1971… 😕

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