Posts Tagged ‘safe water’

Looking for Inspiration? Blue Planet Network’s Got You Covered

Chikhwaza Borehole, Malawi. Photo: Blue Planet Network

Chikhwaza Borehole, Malawi. Photo: Blue Planet Network

Using the world water crisis as it’s playing field, Blue Planet Network brings together auspicious and aspirational projects that help entire communities solve water problems. From hygiene and safe drinking water to filtering, wells, and natural percolation, there are projects around the world needing support to enhance, and actually save lives for villages and cities working against drought, disease, and pollution. You’ve heard about children foregoing education because they have to walk for hours each day, round trip, to gather water for their family…or huge swaths of populations being sickened or dying from cholera and other hygiene-linked diseases…or people simply ailing from dehydration with not enough water to sustain life…these are the global emergencies addressed by Blue Planet Network. They work to connect the public, funders, and program implementers to collaborate for real working solutions. (They study completed projects thoroughly to learn for the next go-round). So far, their network of 102 organizations working in 27 countries has transformed over a million lives in the work to provide clean water for all. Experts are a vital part of the network, and lay folks like the rest of us keep the engine moving–consider getting involved, helping fund raise, spreading the word, monitoring projects, and more. We cannot stop while people die from such a solvable problem.

Water Victory in Botswana’s Kalahari

Access to water is one of the most pressing, if not THE most pressing issues affecting millions–all other health issues are secondary if there is no water to drink. In Botswana’s Kalahari Desert, the indigenous Bushmen tribe has been denied access to ancestral lands and one of their only sources of drinking water…by the country’s government. In 2002 the Bushmen were forcibly evicted and blocked from the borehole they had dug to tap ground water. They appealed the government’s actions on the basis of indigenous land rights, and in 2006 were awarded a precedent setting victory that declared their eviction was unlawful.

The government, however, continued to block their access to their homeland, and capped their well. To add insult to injury, the government drilled a new well on the property for animal use only, and then granted safari lodge rights to an upscale travel company, Wilderness Safaris, who built a luxury lodge, even with a swimming pool, while the Bushmen barely survived on rainwater and melons.

The tribe took the government to court again in 2010, but a judge ruled against them, saying that by insisting on living on their ancestral lands, they brought the trouble on themselves. Simultaneoulsy, the government has granted rights to a three-billion-dollar diamond gem mine to dig on the land, and enacted stronger practices against the tribe to keep them from hunting for food.

Just last week, an appeals court panel of five judges finally overturned the biased judge’s previous ruling, and found that:

– the Bushmen have the right to use their old borehole, which the government had banned them from using.
– the Bushmen have the right to sink new boreholes.
– the government’s conduct towards the Bushmen amounted to ‘degrading treatment’.
– the government must pay the Bushmen’s costs in bringing the appeal.

Survival International has put international attention and pressure on the government and in many ways helped precipitate the move to justice. It is worth following their work on this issue and others as the advocate for indigenous people around the world.

Not Scrooge

Picture 2Actor/Comedian Jim Carrey (playing Scrooge in the new film version of A Christmas Carol) can polarize opinions with his extreme physicality and antics, but you cannot find fault with his commitment to charitable causes. Carrey has a new personal website (http://www.jimcarrey.com) that raises the bar for interactive bells and whistles (and takes a long time to load). The most interesting part of this ethereal site (home page pictured above) is the link to Carrey’s Better U Foundation, a wonderful charity with a true invitation for getting involved in the lives of others, recognizing that we are at our best when we are reaching out. The particular issues being undertaken at this time include autism (Carrey and his wife, actress/comedienne Jenny McCarthy, have a son working through autism and are empowering activists in the cause), safe water (advocating the simple affordable and lifesaving use of LifeStraw, a personal water purifier that anyone anywhere can use and can transform global health), food security (an eco-friendly program to increase rice crops and feed millions more people each harvest), mobility for the disabled (creating affordable, simple wheelchairs), and human rights (calling for international action on global humanity issues).

As we round the bend toward the holidays, look for ways in your own life to embrace the season of generosity, and take a page from this Ebenezer Scrooge’s book.