According to experts, water will be the first resource majorly impacted by climate change. Though we all feel the effects, the world's poorest populations have to face the stark reality of our environmental crisis on a daily basis.
Did you know that women are disproportionately affected by lack of water access? Because many water-related tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and laundry fall to women in the developing world, lack of access to water or poor water quality have negative impacts on women first. Environmental factors like water-borne illnesses and drought contribute to keeping the world's poorest populations trapped in a cycle of poverty and inequity.
So What Can You Do?
This Earth Day, take the opportunity to make sure your community is educated and taking action. A great way to focus your activism is to concentrate on the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Call or write your lawmakers and ask them to support a renewed commitment to meeting the MDGs by 2015. While all the goals need to be a priority, here's some key talking points on a few of them in case you aren't familiar:
- Goal #3 promotes gender equality and empower women
- Goal #5 would improve maternal health - a critical need today. Check out our new global materials about maternal mortality for more information!
- Goal #7 ensures environmental sustainability, access to safe, potable drinking water and sanitation.
- Use a poster campaign near water sources to remind people how much we take for granted our access to water! A simple sign like: "The average woman walks 6-9 miles to get to water. And then has to carry it back." by the drinking fountain will make people think twice.
- Walk for Water Access – Have people physically walk and carry water (or an equivalent weight) a representative distance on campus. To make it more fun and interactive, host a race and challenge people. See how long it takes them to make the trek and subtract points for water lost en route.
- On-Campus Conservation – Start a campaign on campus to conserve water and get your campus to “go green.” Meet with administrators and different offices on campus with specific goals and develop a plan for meeting them!
photo courtesy of wwworks on flickr.
This article was featured in our April 2010 monthly Choices eZine. Sign up for our alerts to stay up-to-date with the latest feminist news and to receive the monthly eZine!