A couple of nights ago, I reached into my bathroom drawer to grab a tube of toothpaste to brush my teeth before bed. I always have an array of toothpastes to select from because, simply, I like to try and keep my teeth white. Currently I have three tubes and each one is there to contribute something unique to my ‘pearly whites’ agenda. ?Apart from a desire to maintain my teeth at their whitest and shiniest, I had not reflected much on any deeper level about my toothpaste kaleidoscope, until this past year.
And, then, two nights ago, I spent the entire evening thinking about toothpaste, mine in particular. The first thought I had was this. On any day, if I read some over-the-top endorsement about some acclaimed, amazing toothpaste or tooth polish, guaranteed to make one’s teeth 5000 shades whiter in 15 seconds, ?I can hop in my car and go buy the ‘promise in a tube.’ I have the means and transportation, even as a poor student, to go and satisfy my curiosity.
I then had another thought. Most certainly, I have plenty of clean water flowing from my faucets, twenty-four/seven, to try any ‘flavor-of-the-month’ toothpaste, or just brush my teeth anytime – whenever I feel like having that ‘Dentyne’ feeling.
So one thought moved to another, flowing into a series of questions. Standing there, brushing my teeth, and then into the evening, I asked myself, ‘How many people in this world have three tubes of toothpaste to choose from?’ Then, ‘How many people in this world have the transportation and resources to go and purchase the newest star on the avenue of ?toothpaste, or to purchase any toothpaste at all?’ And, if they do have the resources, how many even have clean water with which to brush their teeth? At the end of the evening, my three tubes of toothpaste weren’t putting a smile on my face.
Last year, I wrote a post titled ‘Water”. For sometime now, my study and awareness about the lack of clean water for much of the earth’s population has been very sobering and disheartening. Recognizing the monumental scale of this problem has truly made me more mindful about my water use. And, further, I don’t have to go anywhere to gather my water. It’s at my fingertips. The average distance that women in Africa and Asia walk to collect water each day is six kilometers.
Now, with the current drought occurring in our country and the increasing poverty statistics around the world, my concern increases. Finally, I see water as the next ‘oil.’ Water is a $400 billion a year industry, third behind oil and electricity. Water is more than a vital industry, though. It is more than a resource. It is a beautiful gift for those who are so fortunate to have it at their fingertips. And for those who don’t, it is a gift they deserve and one I wish deeply for them.
Following are a few staggering and heartbreaking statistics about the world’s water, particularly unclean water.
The Facts About The Global Drinking Water Crisis
One-in-six people in the world lack safe drinking water.
Water-related illnesses are the leading cause of human sickness and death.
? The?average person in the developing world uses 2.64 gallons?of water a day. The average person in the United Kingdom uses 35.66 gallons?of water per day. The average person in the?United States uses between 100 and 175 gallons?every day.
? It is estimated that 5.3 billion people, two-thirds of the world?s population, will suffer from water shortages by 2025.
Some?6,000 children die every day?from disease associated with lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene – equivalent to 20 jumbo jets crashing every day.
? The UN estimates it would cost an additional $30 billion to provide access to safe water to the entire planet. That?s a third of what the world spends in a year on bottled water.
— CBS News, FLOW
These statistics are generally accepted by United Nation, World Health Organization and Millennium Development Goals.
I love water and am so thankful for it.