World Water Day was March 22. While most of us living in the US take the availability of clean water and sanitation for granted, this is not true for much of the world’s poor and those living in battle zones. In Chapter one of Laudato Si, Pope Francis wrote:
One particularly serious problem is the quality of water available to the poor.
More recently, in a message to the Ninth Water Forum in Dakar, the Holy Father’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin wrote:
Today, more than 2 billion people are deprived of access to clean water and/or sanitation. Think of all the practical consequences that this can have, in particular for patients in health centres, for women in labor, for prisoners, refugees and displaced persons.
What can you do to help ensure access to clean water for all? You can start by conserving water usage: fixing leaks, purchasing water-efficient appliances and toilets, taking shorter showers, turning the water off when brushing your teeth, bringing tap water when you go out rather than purchasing bottled water, washing your car less often, and reducing the watering of your lawn, if you have one.
Secondly, consider water usage when purchasing food and clothing. The manufacturing of jeans and other clothing uses a large amount of water. And the production of meat takes a lot more water than plants, so eating less meat and more veggies will help too.
Thirdly, work to reduce water pollution by using less-toxic household cleaners, solvents, and other chemicals, and practicing organic farming.
Finally, I would like to suggest donating to charities working to improve water quality and stability for the poor such as charity:water (charitywater.org) or water.org.
Working together, we can help take care of our common home.