“Mr. Celebrity: Are Polar Bears More Important than Children?”
Sure, the weather has changed and odd things are happening around the world. Haven’t you seen the sad but serene vision of the polar bear mother with her cub slowly floating out on the chunk of separated ice into oblivion? Despite the fact that the polar ice caps are definitely melting, the issue surrounding whether global warming is a man made problem that can be reversed is not the issue here.
While the world’s top scientists, meteorologists, politicians and academia debate the truth about climate change and spend billions collectively researching to verify if the world’s average temperature has changed by a simple degree, or if the silvery minnow will survive the change, or if the island of Manhattan will be under seven feet of water in a few decades, millions of children are perishing around the world right now from an absolute known cause. In fact, a child is dying every fifteen seconds from something that can be cured and stopped without scientific data or further research. That’s right, with every single minute that passes, four beautiful innocent lives with so much potential vanish from this earth.
A child dies every 15 seconds….There is no study to be commissioned, no politicians need to debate the factual data, and no one has to make documentaries or write books to uncover the truth…
When a well known singer hauntingly chants a song about the poor animals in the shelters across the country and you peek up at the television to see the sad faces of the puppies and kittens looking back at you, you can’t help but feel awful. It is true, these animals are abused and people need to be stopped but why do movie stars, singers, and celebrities choose the causes that make them look good. There is no intended malice to the artist. She is bringing attention to a terrible issue that needs to end but this is not an issue that will stop the life or death challenge to the children around the globe.
The real inconvenient truth is that people are dying at an astonishing rate due to something we all take for granted and no one wants to talk about it. Sure, we can stand in front of a newly built home with a smiling single mother. It is always a great picture to be captured in when you go to a Sub-Sahara Africa village with the local indigenous people and build a school for the children. To stand in front of a well with fresh water pouring from the spout and people dancing in the street makes for a fantastic photo-op. All are nice and endearing to the viewer.
But there is an issue that needs to be out in the open. Here is where most of us, those that use about 150-160 gallons of clean water daily per person, shut down and fade out. Please continue reading and don’t fall into the majority of people that are too prudish to hear words like fecal matter, human waste, crap, midnight soil, open defecation, shit and toilet. Forty percent of the world’s population does not have access to proper sanitation. That’s right! About two and a half billion people do not have a decent toilet to perform the most basic human function. Can you say the word toilet out loud, in front of people, without blushing or giggling? Most people in our “developed” society cannot, yet, people in “developing” countries don’t think twice about it because oftentimes it has life or death consequences. How is that possible? Nearly two million people die each year from waterborne illnesses, many of who are children. That is more than those who die from AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. We have a killer that is extinguishing millions of innocent children and we are not paying any attention or sending an army to combat it.
We have a killer that is extinguishing millions of innocent children and
we are not paying enough attention or sending an army to combat it.
A child dies every fifteen seconds due to waterborne disease. In their day to day struggle, there is no time for blushing, only tears. It is not so much about supplying fresh water but rather protecting it from the disease carrying human waste that scatters the ground. You see, you can install as many wells as we have well-intentioned soccer moms but if you don’t educate the users as to the critical need for such basics, it will be torched, dismantled and vandalized before it has an effect. If you do not show them how to separate the waste from the supply, they will soon be using the machinery to help spread the disease rather than cure it.
Although there is so much more to add, I think it needs to be understood and ingested a little at a time to overcome the prudishness that we have been raised with pertaining to the subject matter. It is not your fault. Discussing bodily functions is considered such a taboo that many parents refer to bad language as “toilet talk.” It comes with being lucky enough to live in a wonderful country where virtually every tap in our country spews clean and safe drinking water; it is separated from our waste. The waste is treated and in many cases, replaced right back into the drinking water supply indirectly and directly. We are so lucky. We have been educated to know the value of such systems. Maybe we can now begin to leave our comfort zones to help others.
We cannot continue to blush and giggle when the word ‘toilet’ is spoken and expect the problem to solve itself. Please, Mr. Movie Star, Book Author, Miss Celebrity, Mrs. TV Mogul, Music Legend, and Mr. Vice President, don’t take the easy way, the clean and neat path. Don’t take photos in front of the clean water or the front of the school, take one on the toilet. Help to save the millions of children that cannot help themselves, the polar bears will still be here next year. We can save them both! Can’t give money? You aren’t influential? Can’t go to Africa? ME NEITHER! Just remember that a child dies every 15 seconds and pass it on……….or Share this article and you’ve helped!
Inconvenient and Sad Truths
Jay Peters, recipient of WTO Hall of Fame Award for bringing attention to the sanitation crisis has traveled from Laos to London, Soweto to Scotland, and Haiti to Zurich, to meet with leaders and locals to raise awareness of the sanitation crisis. You can contact him directly at: Jay@BuildingCodesAndStandards.com. Follow him on twitter at #sanitarysoldier.