Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Water: the Gift of Life

Staying in California during last year's drought, I experience a concerted effort on the part of the state government to limit people's use of water.  Lawns were drying up and in Sacramento the city government was asking people to water their trees not their grass, because trees help hold in water and if the trees died...well, you get the picture.

Currently, 1.6 billion people live in countries and regions with absolute water scarcity and the number is expected to rise to 2.8 billion people by 2025.

One of Nicaragua's richest resources is its aquifer, the largest in Central America.  During the neo-liberal years when the government was trying to privatize everything (public schools, health care, electricity, etc.) they also tried to privatize water.  There was even talk of selling Nicaragua's water to the west coast of the  United States.  Fortunately the Nicaraguans rose up, hit the streets and blocked the privatization of its water.

Thankfully-- they did because after the last two years of drought, Nicaragua lost 60% of its surface water and 50% of its underground water.

With climate change, droughts are going to be a greater and greater threat to life in larger and larger areas of the world.  Our bodies are made up of 72% of water.  Polluting water and wasting water seems to me to be counter-productive to life.

And yet many U.S. politicians want to do away with the Environmental Protection Agency, while here in Nicaragua the two largest polluters of water, sugar production and gold mining, go unchecked.

I heard a college student talk about trying to make the campus more environmentally conscious by asking students to limit their showers to 20 minutes!  While I am not like one of our early volunteers when we ran shelters in NC who, I decided, could take a shower with a thimble of water; 20 minutes is a lot of water going down the drain.

What is it going to take for us to learn and change our ways?