|Jars of Clay lead vocalist Dan Haseltine leads World Water Day commemoration in Hashville. (Photo Elaine VanCleave)|
The United Nations created a very impressive site with lots of nice graphics, pictures and statistics to commemorate World Water Day (observed every year on March 22). The target of ensuring that everyone around the world has clean water is spelled out very clearly in Goal 7 of the Millennium Development Goals.
This UN draws a very direct link between sustainability, population growth and water:
When a billion people in the world already live in chronic hunger and water resources are under pressure we cannot pretend the problem is ‘elsewhere’. Coping with population growth and ensuring access to nutritious food to everyone call for a series of actions we can all help with:
- follow a healthier, sustainable diet;
- consume less water-intensive products;
- reduce the scandalous food wastage: 30% of the food produced worldwide is never eaten and the water used to produce it is definitively lost!
- produce more food, of better quality, with less water.
Along the banks of the Cumberland River
Communities around the world commemorated World Water Day in different ways. In Nashville, Tenn., the event was organized by Blood:Water Mission, a grassroots organization that empowers communities to work together against the HIV/AIDS and water crises in Africa. The organization was founded by the multi-platinum, GRAMMY Award-winning band, Jars of Clay.
Participants walked over the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge to the banks of the Cumberland River near L.P. Field. There they filled their containers with water and then continued their mile journey back to the downtown side of the river. “They carry a five gallon jug and that’s the water that they’ve got for a day. If they spill it, or use too much, that’s all they have,” said Dan Haseltine, lead vocalist for Jars of Clay He was quoted in the Changeversations blog.
The event was primarily about raising consciousness. "We talked about if the amount we carried was enough to cook, wash, etc for a day," said Bread for the World member Elaine VanCleave, who took part in the Nashville commemoration. "It went back in the river at the end of the walk."
And the observance went beyond those who walked along the banks of the Cumberland River. Some residents of Nashville became aware of the importance of this day via the news media. "There's a huge water crisis in Africa, Blood:Water Mission executive director Jena Nardella told WKRN TV.
"There are 328 million people that don't have access to safe water so what that means is women and children have to walk up to five to 10 miles a day just to find water and they carry it back and bring it to their communities but the water that they have has come from a dirty pond or dirty river," added Nardella.
But this day is more than just consciousness and action. It's about making a spiritual connection with those who lack water. By some estimates, one in seven people around the world do not have access to safe drinking water. “I really try to encourage people to be quiet on the way back and really just think about what it must be like for children to carry water, sometimes for miles and miles,” Haseltine said.