This week Village Church’s Environmental Action Committee launched its Stop Using Bottled Water during Lent campaign. Following the example of campaigns by the Green Team at Platt Woods UMC in 2012 and by the Earth Shepherds at Second Presbyterian Church in 2013, EAC has placed signs at Drinking Fountains and at Lavatories around the church urging folks to “Stop Using Bottled Water!”
Specifically, our message is this:
Heal the Earth. Save its People. Conserve Water.
Clean Water is a Human Right.
(One 16.9-ounce bottle of water requires 1.5 gallons of tap water)
FOR LENT, STOP USING BOTTLED WATER,
DRINK TAP WATER!
Each sign includes two of following factoids:
- Clean water means less disease, which means less money spent on medicine which means more money for books and school uniforms.
- Almost two in every three people who need safe drinking water survive on less than $2 a day and one in three on less than $1 a day.
- Only 14% of plastic water bottles are recycled in the US.
- Some plastics in the ocean will not break down in the lifetimes off the grandchildren of the people who threw them away.
- The average American consumes 167 bottles of water a year.
- Lack of sanitation is the world’s biggest cause of infection.
- Unsafe water affects more people worldwide than AIDS and cancer combined.
- You pay more for a gallon of bottled water than you do for a gallon of gas.
Since tap water is significantly less expensive than bottled water, EAC’s hope is to “Get People off the Bottle” and to encourage them to donate the savings to a worthy cause pertaining to water security, such as:
Water.org (920 Main Street, Suite 1800, KC, MO, 64105) (www.water.org).
Thawake Village (Kenya) Well Project (Heartland Presbytery, 3210 Michigan Avenue, Suite 200, KC, MO 64109.
One Great Hour of Sharing (using PCUSA Easter Offering envelopes).
During Lent, EAC asks the congregation to consider the following statistics:
- 780 million people lack access to an improved water source; approximately one in nine people. That’s more than 2.5 times the United States population.
- More than 3.4 million people die each year from water, sanitation, and hygiene-related causes. Nearly all deaths, 99 percent, occur in the developing world. This number is equivalent to the entire population of Los Angeles.
- Each day over 200 million hours are used by women collecting water for their families.
- Lack of access to clean water and sanitation kills children at a rate equivalent to a jumbo jet crashing every four hours!
In the words of Rev. Chad Cooper, “As people of faith, we should strive daily to provide justice to the most vulnerable in the world as well as to possibly the most vulnerable of all—the world itself!”
EAC’s Lenten project is part of its ongoing World Wide Water Awareness campaign which began about a year ago when it decided to introduce to the congregation the need for water conservation at home and safe clean water abroad. Internationally, the availability of safe clean water is becoming a major humanitarian and environmental problem with national security implications.
Education at Village about water issues began last year with the distribution of a brochure explaining the adverse environmental impact of bottled water. Downloaded from Presbyterians for Earth Care’s web site, this flyer is posted on EAC’s Bulletin Board
Also posted on the Bulletin Board is a summary by Chuck Gillam of an article entitled Water as Commodity – The Wrong Prescription by Maude Barlow, best-selling author and international expert on water issues (http://www.foodfirst.org/en/node/57 ).
Last fall, 4 of the 6 Village U environmental classes focused on water. Two additional Village U classes about Sacred Water have been scheduled this spring.