Water Charity of the Week: An-Tiki and WaterAid

antiki raft made of water pipesOn Sunday January 30, a crew of seniors, aged 56 to 84, set sail on the An-Tiki, a raft constructed of water pipes. The purpose of their 70-day, 2,800-mile voyage: To raise 50,000 pounds for WaterAid, an international, nonprofit organization that partners with local organizations in 26 countries in Asia, Africa and parts of the Pacific Region to implement safe water, sanitation and hygiene education in rural and urban areas. WaterAid helps establish clean water systems, while also enabling families to maintain them, ensuring long-term, sustainable success for all parties involved.

While sailing on saltwater, the An-Tiki crew hopes to raise awareness of the fact that it is fresh water that keeps us alive, but it’s also fresh water that many people in the world lack access to. While on board, the crew will have plenty of water, but will also collect rainwater and convert saltwater into fresh, to remind themselves of its importance to our livelihood. While raising money for clean water, these men also hope to demonstrate that adventure is just as suitable for seniors as it is for youngsters. It is impressive to note that the oldest gentleman in the crew, An-Tiki Captain Anthony Smith, has been a traveling adventurer for nearly all of the 84 years he’s been alive.

The An-Tiki is a testament to the importance of clean water, just as the Plastiki has been a testament to the importance of plastic waste reduction – and we thought this unique effort deserved this week’s spot in our featured water charities, in honor of #charitytuesday on Twitter. To support Antiki in it’s fundraising efforts for WaterAid, make a donation online through the An-Tiki Just Giving page. To track the voyage live online, visit the An-Tiki Yellowbrick Satellite Adventure Tracking page.

Water Charity of the Week: World Walks for Water

Since Tuesday is #charitytuesday on twitter, we thought we’d do a weekly feature on one of our favorite water charities. Today we’ve picked one that’s not on our original water charity list: World Walks for Water. It’s a global event that takes place from March 19-22 of this year, that aims to raise awareness of the world’s clean water and sanitation crisis. Anyone may participate in this global demand for strong government action to stop the needless death of thousands every day.

I think of it as a peaceful protest for clean water.

Millions of women and children miss out on the chance to get an education due to the poverty that ensues from a lack of access to clean water. They must spend hours a day traveling to and fro to collect water for their families – water that is dirty and will likely make them sick – and even more hours a day caring for their sick loved ones. Though many water charities exist and are working to solve this crisis, corrupt politics can often ruin even the most sincere charitable efforts. World Walks for Water stands up to those politics, by demanding that these issues be ignored no longer.

Those of us who are more privileged take clean water for granted. What’s worse, rather than investing in technology that purifies water in safe, healthy ways, our governments use toxic chemicals to disinfect our water. (Fortunately, there are companies like Filters Fast that provide ways to filter them out.) World Walks for Water is a chance for all of us to stand up and demand that the world’s entire population, rich or poor, have access to safe water and sanitation. It’s an event that unites people from all walks of life.

You can join the online walk directly on the website. Online walkers are featured on the home page with cartoon characters holding water jugs and walking in a straight line. Each time your mouse rolls over a character, a quote, like “taps and toilets for all,” or “children at school, not walking for water” is displayed on his or her water jug. To join this colorful cast of characters, simply visit the website and fill out the form. Then, if you want to sign up to participate in a walk in your area, or even organize your own walk, you can do that from the website as well. We just joined the virtual walk and are pretty excited about it.

Join the walk for water, and tell your friends by retweeting this post!

Friends Don’t Let Friends Drink Bottled Water

Evian spells naive backwardsWe don’t like to be the bearer of bad news, but it seems that water filtration advocates around the world are going to be disappointed today, because according to several news sources, bottled water sales saw a 4.2 percent increase this last year.

And, you may want to sit down for this next part…

Sales are expected to jump another 3 percent in 2011.

But don’t lose hope. Don’t let this news discourage you. You can make a difference. You can help us put an end to this madness.

It’s very simple: spread the word. Tell your friends the truth about bottled water. For example:

  1. Bottled water manufacturers use clever marketing tactics to fool consumers into believing that their product is the absolute best, and most convenient way to obtain pure water that is safe to drink.
  2. Bottled water is bad for the environment. Millions of non-biodegradable plastic bottles go unrecycled each year.
  3. Bottled water is very expensive, and is really nothing more than filtered tap water that you could easily get from home, at a fraction of the cost, with a quality water filter.
  4. Bottling companies like Fiji are taking good water away from the poor people in Fiji who really need it, and are shipping it long distances and selling it to Americans at ridiculous prices.
  5. Bottled water won’t necessarily protect you from hexavalent chromium contamination… a little known fact that may have contributed to the 2010 spike in sales. The Environmental Working Group recently discovered this contaminant in water supplies in 31 cities across the U.S., and they recommend a good quality water filter over bottled water as a solution. In addition, the EWG recently published a bottled water scorecard, giving filtered tap water the highest score available.
  6. Yes, many bottled waters do not contain fluoride, but you can get water that is fluoride-free right out of your tap by simply installing a reverse osmosis filter. Many RO filters also reduce chromium-vi, and in the long run, will save you lots of money.
  7. The bottled water brand name “Evian” spells “Naive” backwards…

 

These seven facts may be summed up in seven words: Friends don’t let friends drink bottled water. (Okay, so maybe it’s cliche, but you get the point.) I’m guessing that you probably have a lot of friends – virtual or otherwise – and social media is one of the best ways for you to help spread the word so that your friends are not labeled among the “naive” consumers. What’s more: we’ve made it really easy for you to do so; simply hit the “tweet” and “like” buttons at the top of this post. And if you’d like to spread the word on other social networks, you can do so by clicking the buttons below this post as well. Every share counts!

We’d also like to thank all of our friends who have thus far supported our efforts to provide everyone with affordable access to clean water straight from the tap!