I’m always talking about how Travel is Life. I even named my business after it. But there’s actually something else I can’t live without… WATER! Delicious water. Rehydrating water. The foundation of all human life, rivaled only in importance by the air we breath. 72 hours without water and we’d return back to the Earth we came from. You can also watch and share this video on Facebook and YouTube.
Today I’m in Yanayacu in Archidona, Ecuador, the gateway region to the Amazon. Yacu means “agua” in Kichwa, which means “water” in English, which means you need it and you better fucking take care of it now because you won’t get a second chance. (Although you won’t find that definition in Webster’s Dictionary.)
The Amazon possesses a divine gift of containing the largest amount of unpolluted freshwater in the world. And it’s not just us humans who love water. Every species on the planet sips from its life nectar, including the millions of species that call the Amazon home.
Yanayacu is a community just outside of Archidona whose mission it is to educate tourists about the crucial importance of the Amazon’s water systems and how much it affects people all over the world.
I joined a group of students from Tena Institute of Technology for the day to visit Yanayacu and hike Rio Valle. I was inspired by what I learned and later continued my research about water.
💦 Here are 10 important things I learned about WATER.
#1) The Amazon River holds about 20% of the world’s freshwater.
People in Peru, Bolivia, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Brazil use it for drinking water, sanitation services, and hydroelectric power.
#2) Water covers about 71% of the earth’s surface, but only 2.5% is freshwater.
Of which only about half is accessible. The rest is trapped in glaciers, snowfields, and underground.
#3) 80% of illness in the developing world is water related.
That’s why folks like Scott Harrison at charity: water are working hard to bring clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries. Clean drinking water is the ultimate disease prevention.
#4) A small drip from a faucet can waste as much as 34 gallons of water a day.
That’s over 12,000 gallons a year, which is enough to fill 31 hot tubs.
#5) Drinking water is delivered via one million miles of pipes across the United States, but many of those pipes are leaky.
This results in a loss of 6 billion gallons of treated water EVERY SINGLE DAY. That’s enough to provide freshwater to the country of Maldives for 4 years!
#6) The USA uses about 74% as much freshwater as China each year, even though we only have 23% of their population.
Our difference in diets actually play a role in this, as much of America’s water consumption comes from the demand of our cattle, poultry, and farming industries.
#7) Bottled water oftentimes contains more impurities than tap water.
Depending on where you are in the world, bottled water can be dirtier than tap water, even though it costs exponentially more. And studies have shown that low income households actually drink more bottled water than high income households, even though the cost per bottle has a drastically higher impact on their bottom line. It’s just hard to change people’s mindsets.
#8) Staying hydrated can actually help prevent cancer.
Hydration is critical to blood circulation which allows immune system cells to reach damaged tissues in greater numbers. Drinking water is so important to your health, there are actually entire communities formed around it.
#9) More than half of the water used in a home is used in the bathroom.
Which is one of several reasons Bill and Melinda Gates aim to reinvent the toilet, a device which hasn’t seen major improvement in decades. The Gates Foundation aims to bring sustainable sanitation solutions to the 2.5 billion people worldwide who don’t have access to safe, affordable sanitation, which in turn will help cut down on a LOT of diseases that are spread through unsanitary living conditions.
#10) Nearly 1.8 billion people in seventeen countries are heading towards a water crisis in the next few years.
That’s over a quarter of our world’s population who may not have steady access to clean drinking water in our lifetime.
What can we do about it?
I know it feels like everyday someone’s telling you about a huge life threatening society altering problem that our world is facing, and that it can be overwhelming. Heck, even some of my videos can get a bit preachy and I get it.
The good news is though that freshwater scarcity is one of those problems that everyone can contribute a little bit to the solution through small actions, like fixing water leaks in your own house and business, installing low flow toilets regardless of whether they offer financial savings, making sure your trash makes it into the proper receptacles so that rainfall runoff doesn’t carry it into local freshwater creeks and rivers, and donating to organizations like charity: water to help bring clean drinking water to communities around the world.
No need to change your whole life, but you can make a few small changes that have a big impact on our planet. Now go enjoy a glass of water and think for a second just how lucky you are to have such ease of access to clean drinking water.
💦 Join my 10 cents per follower campaign
In the spirit of today’s video, I’ve started a campaign with my favorite nonprofit organization charity: water. My goal is to raise 10 cents per follower of Travel is Life for a total of $1867.80. (Our Facebook page had 18,678 followers at the time I created the campaign.)
With the understanding that not everyone who follows Travel is Life can donate, I hope that you can sponsor a few followers by donating on their behalf. I’ve covered the first 1,000 followers with a $100 donation to get things started.
If you can’t donate, that’s okay! Perhaps share this video instead using the social sharing links at the bottom of this page to help spread the word. You can also share this video directly on Facebook and YouTube.
The reason I love charity: water, aside from their philanthropic objective, is because of their business model. 100% of public donations go towards funding actual projects that provide clean drinking water to people around the world. This is contrary to many other nonprofit organizations that spend a sizeable chunk of each donation on overhead.
Charity: water, on the other hand, raises money to cover overhead from a private group of wealthy benefactors so that all of our public donations can go straight to the projects themselves. They even send photos and GPS coordinates after the project is completed so we can see the exact community we helped.
It’s a fascinating story about how charity: water got started, which the CEO, Scott Harrison, writes about in his autobiography Thirst: A Story of Redemption, Compassion, and a Mission to Bring Clean Water to the World. I read that book cover to cover when it was published last October and have since bought copies for several of my friends.
- Hardcover Book
- Harrison, Scott (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 336 Pages - 10/02/2018 (Publication Date) - Currency (Publisher)
Many of us have no idea what it’s like to be thirsty. We have plenty of water to drink — even the water in our toilets is clean. But many people around the world don’t have that luxury.
Every day, about 1,400 children die from diseases caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are simple solutions like drilled wells, spring protections and BioSand filters that help provide clean water to communities around the world — which charity: water build through the help of our donations.
Thanks for being a part of the Travel is Life Community and for your help with this campaign.
Founder | Travel is Life
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