Perspective on Water

As I’ve been talking about water all month I realize that it’s hard to grasp some of the numbers. So let’s get a little perspective. One billion people in this world lack access to clean water.

  • That’s 1 in 6 people.
  • That’s 5 times the number of active users on Facebook (currently at 200 million).
  • That’s 33 times the number of Twitter users (currently at 30 million).
  • That’s more than 3 times the total population of the United States.

Another number I’ve been throwing around is that this lack of access to clean water kills 42,000 people every week (90% of them children). That’s roughly 2.2 million people every year dying from dirty water.

  • That’s more people than HIV/AIDS kills every year (2.04 million, so it’s pretty close).
  • That’s way more people than die in traffic accidents every year (1.27 million).
  • That’s more than the total population of New Mexico (or 15 other states, take your pick).

Just a little perspective for your Monday. You can donate now to help—it only takes $20 to give one person clean water for 20 years.

Walk for Water in the Pioneer Press

The Pioneer Press did a quick write-up on my Walk for Water stunt in today’s paper. Charity: water gets a nice mention and link, as does the Bald Birthday Benefit (now we can see what kind of bottom-line boost newspaper publicity offers). The article also mentions that we hit the $600-goal in only six days—so hats off to all you folks who helped us get there and those who have kept us going towards that crazy $5,000-goal.

Not a bad story, though I think I’ll win an award for dumbest quote of the year:

Lugging 40 pounds of water “will actually be fairly strenuous,” he said.

Actually? Fairly strenuous? Who is this idiot? Carrying 40 pounds of water two miles up the Mississippi River bluff is going to suck. It shouldn’t be impossible, but for a mostly sedentary guy like myself it won’t be a walk in the park. Guess I need to work on saying something quotable.

Moving on. As a bit of fact-checking nit-pickery, I’ll be carrying the 40 pounds of water two miles, not one mile as the article states. It’s two miles from the Mississippi River to my house. But I understand the confusion. I threw out a lot of information in the 15-minute call I had with the reporter. And I’m complicating things myself because I’m planning to drive down to the river and then walk back with the water. I realize it’s cheating a bit, but accuracy isn’t the goal here. Besides, I’d like to minimize the time and effort required of the folks going with me.

Anyway, it’s pretty cool to get some publicity like this. I hope it leads to more clean water for more people. Remember, it takes only $20 to provide one person with clean water for 20 years. Wish me a happy birthday and donate now. Thanks.

Bald Birthday Benefit Bash: June 13, 2009

Celebrate the end of the Bald Birthday Benefit by eating tasty tacos and watching Kevin shave his head! This really only appeals to the Twin Citizens in the audience, but on Saturday, June 13 we’ll be celebrating my 30th birthday by shaving my head.

The plan is to eat at Dora’s Mexican Restaurant (formerly Los Cabos, which is still the name on the sign) at 360 Bernard in West St. Paul at 5 p.m. on June 13. Afterward we’ll head over to my place for the head shaving. You’re on your own for supper at Dora’s, but we’ll have snacks and such at my place.

Give me a holler if you plan to make it. No gifts allowed unless they’re donations to charity: water.

Walking for Water

A couple weeks ago I took a walk. As part of this whole Bald Birthday Benefit raising cash and awareness about water, I’ve wanted to understand a tiny bit of what life is like for the more than one billion people in this world who don’t have easy access to clean water.

When I want clean water I turn to one of the 13 faucets in my house that offers water (that’s sinks, showers and outside spigots), usually with my choice of hot or cold water. The water is clean and pure and I pay very little for it (consequently, there’s little incentive to conserve).

The one billion people who live without clean water aren’t so lucky. Many of them walk as far as three hours per day to get water. And whatever water they need, they have to carry. Imagine spending three hours of your day hauling water back and forth. For every flush of the toilet or extra minute you spend in the shower, imagine if you had to walk three hours to get that water. And the water they get isn’t exactly clean. It’s usually chock full of parasites and disease, killing 42,000 people every week.

It’s kind of insane when you think about it.

Continue reading Walking for Water

Shaving My Legs for Clean Water

Clean Water and a Clean ShaveI’ve been amazed at the results of the Bald Birthday Benefit. We shattered the initial $600 goal in only six days and so far given clean water to 57 people. On June 13 I’ll be shaving my head.

But there’s still that pesky $5,000 goal, the cost of a well in Ethiopia. But at this rate we’re not going to make it. So it’s time to up the ante. I’m shaving my head on June 13, but if we can hit $5,000, I’ll also shave my legs.

I realize we’re reaching ridiculous territory here. But why not? This is my last ditch effort to publicly humiliate myself for the sake of charity. And I’m throwing out this final challenge because, honestly, I don’t think you can do it. It would take nearly $300 a day to hit $5,000 (including today, which is almost over). That’s just nuts. It’s not going to happen.

So I’m throwing out this last, crazy challenge with near total confidence that I won’t have to do it. Because seriously—shaving my legs? Not something I need to experience.

Hear that, Internet? I just said you couldn’t do it. You’re not up to it. There aren’t enough people out there who want to see me shave my legs and give people clean water.

If you’d like to make me eat my words, shave my legs and [most importantly] give someone clean water, you can donate now.

But no matter how much we raise, this is going to be the best birthday ever.