Blog Action Day: A Reality TV Lesson in the Struggle for Water

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My husband and I are a little bit addicted to watching survival shows on the Discovery Channel. We’ll sit for hours watching marathons of “Man Woman Wild,” “Man vs. Wild” and our favorite, “Dual Survival.” So what the heck does this have to do with water, right?

Well, if you’ve ever watched one of these shows, you’ll know that the idea is that cast members are left in the middle of nowhere with little, if any, gear to help them survive. And in very nearly every episode, the biggest struggle the survivors face is finding clean water to drink.

There was one episode of “Dual Survival” in which the two castmates were stranded in the desert. They were very, very low on water and were forced to choose between drinking water that may have been contaminated or not drinking water at all. One of the men, a survivalist who lives completely off the grid in the desert climate of Arizona, literally broke into tears as he talked about how wasteful people in the modern world tend to be when it comes to water.

I understand that this is an extreme depiction of the struggle for water and that the show is set up for the purpose of edu-tainment (educational entertainment). However, these shows, this episode in particular, never fail to remind me of a stark truth: That there are millions of people all over the world who face this struggle daily. There are millions of people who have to choose between drinking dirty, contaminated water or drinking none at all. There are millions who have no water to drink at all.

It’s easy for us to turn a blind eye to their plight, because we are fortunate enough to be able to turn on our faucets for 15 minute showers whenever we choose. But these people are real. They do exist. And their plight is one that any one of us could be forced to face before we know it. Imagine what would happen if a major metropolitan area had to ration water because the supply was running low (it happened to us here in the Atlanta metro area a few years ago). Imagine what would happen if a water supply wound up contaminated by some unknown source (it happens all the time throughout the world).

All that to say that the next time you turn on a faucet in your home, take a dip in a pool, water your lawn or wash your car, remember those people, and don’t take your fortune for granted.

Changing your water habits doesn’t have to be hard at all. Remember this video I made a few weeks ago about conserving water in your home? If you didn’t see it then, please watch it now:

You can read many more perspectives on water and find tips for conserving it at Thousands of blogs have written posts on the topic, and many of them will open your eyes. Here are some of my favorites, though there are tons of great ones:

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2 comments… add one
  • Michelle | Bleeding Espresso November 1, 2010, 7:16 am

    We love those survival shows too, especially Bear Grylls (although I believe I can appreciate him on a whole other level that my husband doesn’t get — ahem). Great post, and thanks for mentioning mine…loving your blog as well!

    • jennae November 1, 2010, 8:40 am

      Thanks so much for stopping by! And I think I’m too overcome by the crazy things Bear Grylls will eat to pay attention to much else…lol

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