Friday, October 15, 2010


I love where I live, in a small town a few blocks from the Nooksack River. Recently, my Dad and I went up to Mt. Baker National Forest. One of the special places there is the Nooksack Falls. The native people in this area hold this place sacred.

Beyond the beauty of this area, which is amazing, is the clear, clean water. In the last place I lived, not far from where we now live, the water comes from an underground aquifer. During the five years I lived there, there was one day that chlorine was added to the water! Otherwise the water was tested regularly and pumped straight into our taps. This is no small thing, since so many people in the world do not have access to clean water. And we humans cannot live without water.

It is hard to believe nearly 1 billion people lack access to clean water, which causes a litany of struggles, diseases and even death. African women walk over 40 billion hours each year carrying cisterns weighing up to 18 kilograms to gather water, which is usually still not safe to drink. In fact, many scholars attribute the conflict in Darfur at least in part to lack of access to water.

At the same time: it takes 24 liters of water to produce one hamburger; it takes 40 million liters to charge the 80 million active iPhones in the world; a cotton t-shirt took 1,514 liters of water to produce, and jeans require an extra 6,813 liters. And waste and pollution diminish the available clean water even further.

The good news is that we can take action: contribute to organizations like and; correctly dispose of household wastes so they don't end up in our streamsrivers and eventually the oceans; or measure how much water it took to make your favorite foods with this app:

Be aware, be careful with this precious resource, and be grateful for the water that comes out of your tap.

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