Our western civilization has seen some astounding changes, particularly over the past century. Things like clean water, a steady supply of electricity, a warm and dry home and plenty of food are now expected rather than appreciated. Most of us feel entitled to these basics while billions of people suffer and die without them. Take water for example.
Some 1.1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to water, and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation.
Almost two in three people lacking access to clean water survive on less than $2 a day, with one in three living on less than $1 a day.
More than 660 million people without sanitation live on less than $2 a day, and more than 385 million on less than $1 a day.
Access to piped water into the household averages about 85% for the wealthiest 20% of the population, compared with 25% for the poorest 20%.
1.8 billion people who have access to a water source within 1 kilometre, but not in their house or yard, consume around 20 litres per day.
In the United Kingdom the average person uses more than 50 litres of water a day flushing toilets (where average daily water usage is about 150 liters a day. The highest average water use in the world is in the US, at 600 liters day.)
Most people I know couldn’t draw an accurate diagram showing the delivery of clean water to their homes from source to tap. We’ve undergone a progression that other societies haven’t regarding this most precious resource… from thankful to expectant and entitled. We have become one of the few animals on earth who don’t know where the water that our lives depend on comes from or how to find it if the tap runs dry. This rampant sense of entitlement applies to many other areas and has resulted in a skewed value system. No longer concerned about the basics of life, we’ve developed an appetite for useless and unnecessary consumption that billions of people would find bewildering. Should we feel guilty and ashamed? No, but we should certainly realize how blessed we are and re-adjust our values to include and truly appreciate the most important things in life.