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General Interest, Politics

WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE AND THE 10% CAMPAIGN

The vast reserves of petroleum in Saudi Arabia will last for centuries, even at the rate of heightened consumption caused by the demands of many emerging economies. That’s the good news for the 5,000 or so decadent kings and princes that make up the Saudi royal family. The bad news? The ground water in Saudi Arabia figures to dry up within 50 years. Wonder what Western nations will charge them for a barrel of clean water at that point? Being that the place is basically a giant sand sauna, they’d be well advised not to wait for any monsoons to come their way and maybe invest in some desalinization technology.

But that’s just one country. Of the 6 and change billion of us on this planet, almost half of us don’t have any clean water to drink or bathe in, resulting in every sort of infection and disease imaginable. The United Nations estimates that if this doesn’t change soon, that by the year 2020, 135 million people will die. That’s every person in 6 average-sized nations dead as hell. As of right now, a child dies every fifteen seconds from a water-related disease. Dead from something the rest of us take for granted. Something we wash our cars with, water our crabgrass, fill up water balloons with and slide down water slides upon. And something that corporations have figured out how to acquire the rights to and sell back to us for a dollar a bottle, putting a further strain on the available clean water supplies.

And all this on a world more than two-thirds covered in the stuff. But that covering is mostly salt water, poison to us. And equally poison is a lot of the “fresh water” in many nations, resulting in an estimated 2.1 million kids and 1.65 million adults for a grand total of 3.75 million souls a year dying. In a nation like India, where there are more college graduates than any other nation and a growing modern high tech economy, there are hundreds of millions of their people living essentially in the Bronze Age, drinking and bathing in water fouled by domestic animals and doubling as human sewers. China is in the same boat. In Africa there are many locations suffering from this backward lifestyle, and also parts of the Philippines. A full one third of the planet is classified as “water-stressed,” with that number expected to rise to two thirds by 2025.

That’s a lot of numbers and statistics to swallow without a lot of solutions handy. Water sanitation in water-stressed nations is paramount, but economic development usually precedes this process, and with the world in a financial meltdown that doesn’t look too likely to happen any time soon. So it’s up to the rest of the world to provide clean water to those without it, not nearly as expensive an undertaking as funding their armies, which developed nations seem to have no problem doing. The secret to good health and increased longevity is no arcane secret, it’s basically sanitation. And then there’s nutrition of course, with the lack of it (otherwise known as starvation) claiming another 12 to 13 million lives each year. Usually the starvation can be traced to lack of water to raise crops. Combine that with the foul water and you’ve got mountains of corpses every year from preventable deaths.

So it’s back to the 10% Campaign, where all nations of the earth are asked to reduce their military expenditures by 10% and use that money to help feed the starving and provide clean water to the world. The generals and war mongers need not fret, that still leaves them with 90% of their killing toys intact, more than enough to continue laying waste to one another. For the victims of their warfare, who would notice if your house got blown to smithereens and your family butchered by 90 bombs instead of 100? And would 900 soldiers be that much less deadly than 1,000? And the upside for the war mongers is that by feeding everyone and making sure they have clean water, that’s tens of millions of people who get to stay alive every year, potential targets for your guns or future soldiers for your armies. 

So that 10% savings will pay big dividends right off the bat for our organized killers with all the extra people they’ll have around. Sometimes less is more, and 10% fewer weapons will feed and sanitize world. Of course the 10% Campaign doesn’t address the regions of the world where people are deliberately starved and deprived of water by the leaders of their own nations, only those places that are willing to do something about this benign genocide. There’s always those murderous clowns to deal with, but just maybe a global campaign to provide clean water and food as a basic human right, The Right to Live, will shame them into ceasing their mass slaughter. 

In truth the odds are petty slim that shame will do the trick with such monsters, but arms embargoes towards them and a campaign to arm their rivals to the teeth go a long way towards getting even assholes like them to see the light. Even with their enemies at only 90% of their former strength, the guys with the biggest guns always win. Nations and international financiers have been playing this game with warring governments for untold centuries. You don’t pay them back or do what is asked of you, they provide your enemies with the means to destroy you. Sound pretty crazy using military money to try to end water related deaths and starvation, but it’s not very realistic to pretend we can disarm our militaries. We are, after all, humans, and as such are natural born annihilators of each other, but we can cut down by 10% without too much strain on our most popular sport. And who knows, we just might have something to feel good about other than death and destruction for a pleasant change. If so, there’s always the Another 10% Campaign.

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