October 15, 2010

Blog Action Day: Water

Today is Blog Action Day, a day when thousands of bloggers blog about one single topic.  This year's topic is water.

Thirteen inches.  That's how much precipitation falls here in Long Beach.  Most of it comes during the months of November-March.  Very little rain falls the rest of the year.  Case in point:  this past May 18, 0.05 inches of rain fell; it was a record amount of precipitation for that date.  And it hasn't rained much since.

So whether or not folks around here pay attention to water, they should. While some water comes from underground aquifers, a large percentage of it comes from the Sierra Nevada, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, or the Colorado River, all of which are hundreds of miles away.

We are fortunate in that our society has the resources to bring water to us.  Many people around the world are not so lucky.  I've mentioned on this blog before that several million children die each year because they do not have access to clean drinking water.  That's one child every fifteen seconds.  Probably two or three have died just in the time it's taken you to read to this point on my blog.
One dollar will provide drinking water to one child for one year.  One dollar can save a life.  (My church's Global Ministries digs wells and welcomes donations, if you are interested. Also, you are invited to sign a petition for clean water by clicking the button to the right.)
In this dry land that I live in, many residents are converting their front lawns into gardens of drought-tolerant native plants.  Personally, I think these gardens are beautiful.  I'm tempted to take pictures of them, but it feels weird to stand in front of a stranger's home and snap photos.  So I've included pictures I've taken elsewhere in southern California, showcasing some of the beautiful native plants we have; plants that require very little water.
It seems to me to be only a matter of time before lush green lawns become obsolete in southern California.  Already, most communities limit watering to two or three days per week. (If you have a lawn in southern California, you have to water it.)  Using that much water will eventually become unsustainable for the 20 million-plus people who live in southern California.

And why should we spend so much money on massive water projects to satiate our thirsty front lawns when people are dying for lack of a cup of water?
How cool it would be if we all planted native gardens.  Then, when the savings show up on our water bills, we can easily send a dollar to an organization that provides water for children in developing countries.

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