Social Justice Challenge, Month 2: Water

I’m a little behind the times; I’ve been meaning to get this done for a few days now, but I don’t seem to be fully in control of my life at the moment. Anyway, here I am now.

This month’s Social Justice issue is Water.

  1. What is the first thought that comes to your mind when you think of Water as a social justice issue? Honestly? The first thing that comes to mind is confusion, I guess. I really don’t know much about this topic. The most I can really say is that, obviously, access to clean drinking water is necessary for survival, as well as needed for things like sanitation, and when people don’t have that it’s a pretty serious issue. I’ve also been hearing snippets about how, in the future, there’s going to be a serious water shortage, but I don’t know how true this is or how imminent. I think the concept of not having clean running water is so outside of my purview that it kind of doesn’t sink in.
  2. What, if any, exposure have you personally had to a water shortage? None, that I recall. I have distant memories of watering restrictions when I was a kid, but it’s so vague I couldn’t tell you if it actually happened to me or whether it was something I read in a book somewhere.
  3. What potential action steps can you think of that relate to this month’s theme of Water? I’ve been taking a look at some of the links on the SJC blog; so far, I’d say the one that appeals to me most is drinking only water for two weeks to raise awareness about the issue. That’ll be hard for me, because I’m totally addicted to ginger beer! Just blogging about it is also a good step, too. I think they’re right in saying that this is pretty much ignored by the media and consequently many people have no idea what’s going on. The more people who understand that this is a serious problem the more people who are going to want to do something about it.

An interesting thing I’ve noticed is that many of the links on the site and those I’ve found myself seem to be American-based, and/or religious groups. That poses a problem for me personally, since I’m not American and I’m definitely not religious, so contributing via time or donations is difficult. It seems a trivial sticking point, but I prefer non-religious agencies if at all possible, as I believe aid should be given because it is the right thing to do, not for religious reasons, and it should be distributed equally and without conditions or religious bias – in particular, without preaching or conversion attempts, which is something that not all agencies can be trusted to do. As long as people get what they need, I don’t really care what religious charities do – to  a point – but when donating my own money I’d rather it not be used to further a religious agenda.

In the interests of providing like-minded folks with some further links that might be interesting or helpful:

I’ve also been hunting down some novels on the subject, as the list is woefully lacking in fictional resources. It is incredibly difficult to find anything even remotely related to the point, but a managed to find a couple, after several hours of searching:

Freezing Point by Karen Dionne (article here)

H2O by Mark Swartz (article here)

Stealing Death by Janet Lee Carey (young adults fantasy based on the real-life water shortage)

A list of children’s books here.

To the Last Drop by Andrew Wice (info here)

Right of Thirst by Frank Huyler (not exactly about water, but similar themes)

Dry Wells of India: An Anthology Against Thirst (various authors)

Gardening at Night by Diane Awerbuck (set in Africa)

A Blade of Grass by Lewis deSoto (South Africa)

One Last Look by Suzanna Moore (India)

The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam by Lauren Liebenberg (Zimbabwe)

Blue Gold by Clive Cussler (much as it galls me to recommend anything of his; I confess, I despise his writing)

A Far Country by Daniel Mason (summary)

Breathless in Bombay (short story collection featuring one about a water shortage)

Cold Comfort: Love in a Changing Climate by Suzanne Waters (novel about apocalyptic climate change)

A Mile of River by Judith Allnatt (set in the English drought of 1976)

Some of those last are not specifically related to the water crisis, but set in countries with shortages or about tangential issues etc. I would suggest searching for general stories about missionaries and international volunteers, too; I’m sure that those sorts of novels will probably have water-related issues in them as well.

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    • Martha Calderaro
    • February 24th, 2010

    Thanks for the add’l links and the book suggestions.

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