Brain Pickings

Blog Action Day 2010: Water


What conversationality has to do with dirt-digging and twenty years of good life.

Okay, here’s the deal. Today is Blog Action Day 2010 — an annual effort to start a global conversation around a specific issue that affects us all, focusing on water this year — and we’re in. Are you? We hope so. Because, at this very moment, a nearly billion people on the planet can’t do what you can: Get up and get a glass of clean, safe drinking water. That’s one in eight of us. Add to that the 38 million children that die from waterborne disease every week, and it becomes apparent a mere “conversation” won’t solve the problem.

So what can you do? We suggest three main courses of action: Building awareness, supporting the right causes, and changing your personal habits. So let’s tackle these one by one.


Virtual Water will tell you the footprint of water. (Did you know that it takes 24 liters of water to produce a single hamburger?).

It comes as a gorgeous poster and an iPhone app.


Here are three smart water-related projects we stand behind. Topping our list is charity:water, which brings clean drinking water to people in the developing world by building freshwater wells, rainwater catchments and sand filters. You can support them by making a donation ($20 can buy one person clean drinking water for 20 years — think about that for a moment) or getting involved by volunteering or fundraising.


Last but not least, walk the walk. We’ve been off the bottle since 2003 and we strongly encourage you to try the plastic-free life.

Our weapons of choice: A sleek, colorful Klean Kanteen steel bottle and a space-saving PUR water pitcher, complete with an LED lamp that tells you when to change the filter.

So go ahead and have that conversation about water with someone today, but don’t stop there.

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