Contributed by Nora DePalma
When making a toast, we typically imagine raising a glass of champagne. Today, however, you might want to raise a glass of tap water instead, in celebration of World Water Day. This observance was first recognized by the United Nations on March 22, 1993 as a way to celebrate freshwater and also to call attention to the many important global issues related to water conservation and access to clean drinking water.
Water for People estimates that 783 million people around the world do not have access to safe drinking water, and that 2.5 billion are without adequate sanitation facilities. By 2025, the UN predicts that two-thirds of the world’s population could be living under water stressed conditions.
This year's World Water Day is focused on the connection between Water and Food Security. Lack of access to clean water and sanitation is dangerous not only because of the risk of dehydration and water-related illnesses, but because lack of water can cause major crop failures and livestock deaths. In areas of the world that are dependent on local agriculture, this can lead to widespread famine and malnourishment.
Meanwhile, the worldwide appetite for meat is rising, which is causing demand for freshwater to skyrocket. The UN reports that while it takes 1,500 liters of water to produce 1 kg of wheat, the feeding, slaughtering, and processing needed to produce 1 kg of beef requires a whopping 15,000 liters. Given that so much of the world is likely to be facing water shortages in the near future, this demand for meat is simply unsustainable.
Want to get involved? Here are a few ways you can make a difference:
-Spread the word about World Water Day with these educational materials
-Help improve water access around the world by supporting Water for People
-Get involved in the Nature Conservancy's Rivers and Lakes Program
-Learn how to shrink your own Water Footprint with helpful, thought-provoking tips
Posted: 3/21/2012 11:43:10 PM by
Heather Wallace | with 0 comments