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2010 Social Justice Reading Challenge

It’s the second month of the Social Justice Challenge.  Last month saw us reflecting on religious freedom.  This month has us thinking about and taking action on water.  Yes, there really is a water crisis in some parts of the world.  Why it may not be the first issue that comes to mind when one considers social justice, the fact that every human needs (clean) water to survive, it very much is an issue.  Hannah, as this month’s hostess, has asked us the following questions in order to get our minds around this very topic:

What is the first thought that comes to your mind when you think of Water as a social justice issue? 

Drinking water is the very first thing I think of when considering the idea of water as a social justice issue.  Images of polluted streams, distended bellies, people drinking water out of muddy and diseased puddles of water are foremost in mind.  For those of us lucky enough to have running water, we do not think of those who have to use run-off to drink or cook. 

What, if any, exposure have you personally had to a water shortage?

I am fortunate to have never had to experience a water shortage.  The closest I ever came was growing up and my parents were struggling with money and expenses.  One of the ways they tried to cut back was to eliminate excessive use of water, which meant not flushing the toilet every single time it was used, baths rather than showers, and other measures.  I was young – maybe three or four at the time – but I can still remember how frustrating it was not to be able to go outside and play in the sprinkler.

I also experienced several droughts while growing up in Illinois.  Again, as a kid, the only way I was impacted was because I couldn’t play in the sprinkler or in the pool.  I actually feel quite embarrassed to admit these experiences with water shortages because they are so immensely trivial compared to what others in the world face on a daily basis.  

What potential action steps can you think of that relate to this month’s theme of Water?

    There are quite a few things I can implement this month, mostly personal.  At a personal level, I can ensure that my family does limit their water usage – turning off the faucet when brushing their teeth, no excessive shower lengths, filling up the sink with soapy water when washing dishes, and so forth.  As for more far-reaching action steps, I would have to do some research to see what programs there are out there to help those with a lack of drinking water.  Maybe a donation is in order, or I can see if my company would be willing to make a donation.  It is something that I will definitely be looking into further.

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