November 19, 2011

Let’s Talk Toilets.

Photo by mrlego54

What is this toilet talk? you ask. Believe me, there’s a lot of facts about toilets worth talking about. You’ll find out why in a moment.

Hey! No reading ahead.

  • * The average person spends three years of their life going to the toilet.
  • * Most toilets flush in the key of E Flat.
  • * The typical Japanese toilet comes complete with background music, a fake flush sound, a seat warmer and an automatic deodorizer.
  • * More advanced versions under development aim to test your blood sugar levels, calculate your body mass index and then automatically email your doctor the results through fibre optic broadband.
  • * In June 2008, the US Government spent $450m launching a space mission in order to fix a broken toilet on the International Space Station.
  • * In 2006 the US Government spent just $6 million on water and sanitation in some of the least-developed countries.
  • * A recent survey showed that the top three toilet habits of people in the UK are reading (39%) texting (21%) and talking (21%).

Now you’re demanding to know where in the world I’m going with this (although you have to admit, those facts are quite interesting). For one, toilets play an important role in providing life and dignity to people all over the world.

Now consider these facts:

  • * Almost a billion people lack access to clean water.
  • * 40% of the world’s population doesn’t have adequate toilet facilities, that’s 2.5 billion people.
  • * One gram of human feces can contain 10,000,000 viruses, 1,000,000 bacteria, 1,000 parasite cysts, 100 parasite eggs.
  • * Millions of women and children walk miles for hours everyday to collect water. MILLIONS. WALKING FOR HOURS. JUST FOR WATER.
  • * 4,000 children die every day from diarrhea caused by unclean water and poor sanitation.

So it would make sense to say that an accessible supply of clean water would mean improved health, more time and better quality of life, right? Well, how do we make that happen?

End Water Poverty (EWP) is an international campaign that aims to bring an end to the global water and sanitation crisis. The coalition is formed of like-minded organizations from around the world who are demanding urgent action and leadership from donors and governments alike. Only together, with one voice, can we tackle this devastating crisis that affects billions of poor people across the world.

How you can help.

I also encourage you to rent the award-winning documentary FLOW (For Love of Water), an investigation into what experts label the most important political and environmental issue of the 21st Century–The World Water Crisis. My husband and I watched it and then decided to share it with our  son. He was 8 at the time. It has given him a profound appreciation for water–and water conservation–and how easy our lives really are. What really impacted him were the children–so many younger than he–walking for miles to get a bucket of water. And walking the miles back with the bucket balanced on their head.

Have you seen a documentary about this issue? Please share by leaving a comment!

Thanks for reading and I’d love to hear from you about how you got people mobilized behind EWP’s — or a similar organization’s — mission.

PS. Check out Better Water to conserve water with every flush — 5% of every sale is donated to The Straws for Life Project–helping others get clean drinking water

* Originally published on I Count for myEARTH.
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