|Photo yoinked from needlestick.org|
Water is on my mind this morning. Back pain or no back pain, I need to clean my home, and that requires water. Water I have a-plenty, hot or cold on demand. Water I have, liquid or solid, and I can make it vapor if I so desire. What a luxury, water like this. Water for bathing, water for laundry, water for drinking, for flushing, for dishes and mopping. My children don't know what "thirsty" really means. We are rich in water.
So many people are not.
Hardly seems right, that in so many places the bounty of water available here, taken for granted here, wasted here, would be a miracle to others.
In the recent past, Detroit threatened to turn off the water for a large number of residents for unpaid bills. The UN had to step in and stop it or the city would have created an urban desert. Seems Baltimore is planning to do the same in the next week or so, millions of unpaid bills and delinquent accounts hurting their bottom line. California is calling for a 25% water use reduction statewide due to drought, denying the Central Valley region the ability to irrigate crops and leaving many residents fearful that there may be no water at in a year.
In Africa, people are being told they cannot drink river water without using purification tablets they must purchase, as it's contaminated, but they cannot use wells dug by cities or the state (corporations, really) without paying a hefty fee.
Colorado has banned rainwater collection - no rain barrels or cisterns allowed.
The CEO of Nestle says water is NOT a basic human right and that people should have to pay for it or go without.
Think about that last.
What are we made of, for the most part? And it's not a basic human right?
For many years, I have thought about where the water is. There are plenty of maps and charts available to show where water is used by whom, where it is over used, and where it falls as rain and snow.
What those maps and charts don't show is all the water that is captured, imprisoned, unable to be part of the cycle.
What am I talking about?
Imagine a convenience store. It doesn't have to be one of the biggest ones, even a smaller one will do. Imagine the shelves and coolers in that convenience store. Imagine all the soft drinks, juices, beers and other adult beverages, energy and sports drinks, and yes, bottled water. Bottled. Can't evaporate, condense, fall as rain or snow. One small store. Now multiply that, magnify that, take it to a larger store, a super store, one of those buyer's club stores. Now go city-wide. Hmm. State wide. Umm... Nation wide. Holy crap, that's LOT of water.
Companies like Nestle, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and everyone else who bottles, ships, and sells water or other water-using beverages? They have taken a natural resource, an elemental thing, a necessity, and made it their commodity. All that water sitting in bottles on shelves, in tanks in factories. Water taken from Florida and transported to Ohio. Water bottled in France or Switzerland and sent to the USA or Asia or anyplace but the place it came from. Water that used to fall in drops upon the earth, flow through the soil into streams and rivers, filling ponds and lakes and flowing onward to the ocean and always, always going through the cycle. Now it can't.
And people wonder why there is scarcity, drought. Release all that bottled water, just sitting there waiting to be used, and see what happens.
You can't own water, any more than you can own fire, or earth, or the wind, or the human spirit. These things, they are everyone's. We can claim the rights to use them, but own them? Absurd. Water IS a basic human right. It is necessary to life, and no one should be able to deny to others in the name of profit.
I'm thirsty. I think I'll get a drink of water. I raise my glass to the world and hope that we get our collective heads out of our asses and start doing right by each other - that includes recognizing that all beings should be able to drink freely, drink their fill, without fear of penury for the pleasure.