We are the human rights group. The first thing we did was sit down and decide what we wanted as our final goal. In order to identify this goal we needed to figure out the system associated with the water issue. In very broad terms this is what we discovered; there are at least two systems at work.
One system exists in the third world countries where the water issue is the most prevalent. Here the leverage point is education. People face lack of water so the women and children spend their days walking to get the water and bringing it back to their families. Instead of going to school and learning about other ways to obtain water and how to be successful in life, the children are spending their time obtaining a natural right of life, clean drinking water. Because the women and children spend their time here, the boys and men are the only ones available to attend school and enter the workforce. Families with fewer boys have fewer sources of income, and become poverty stricken. This poverty adds to the clean water issue because some developing solutions like the water purifiers cost money, money that the families no longer have. Intertwined in this issue are the population issue and the sexism issue. Girls are less valuable to the families because they can’t enter the work force and provide their families with money; all they can do is collect water. So families will reproduce and reproduce until they have an adequate number of male children that will give them a secure future. The more children they produce, the more mouths they have to feed, and the more water they need for their everyday lives.
The second system is in countries like our own, where water is not an issue, so its taken for granted and people misuse their access to it. We have a natural right to clean water, but we don’t have a natural right to unlimited access to clean water. This can’t be a natural right because water isn’t an unlimited resource! We need to treat it with respect and with the importance it has. Water changes lives. So in our country people live comfortably, we have a thriving middle class. Our middle class has clean water in tap, so we don’t consider its importance. We can buy water in bottles in almost any store and in any area. We even have easy access to hot water. We have such easy access we begin to take advantage of this access. We begin to buy the bottled water because we are mind washed; we want THE BEST water, not just water. We want THE CLEANEST water, not just water. We want the PUREST water, not just water. Yet in other countries, all they want is water, plain and simple. Any temperature, any form, just water. Cleanliness of water would be a privilege, a cherry on top. Our water companies take advantage of our ignorance. So the media doesn’t cover the water issue, in fact the media helps to enhance our ignorance, feeding us misinformation, convincing us that the bottled water is cleaner than the tap. We believe them and buy their water, encouraging them to continue to trick us. Here the issue is awareness. This is our leverage point.
We must focus on advocacy. If we could inform our middle class about the water issue, enlighten them on the trickery being performed by companies like Poland Spring and Nestle, and show them what they can do, we can make a difference. So how do we go about encouraging advocacy? We began exploring organizations like charity water and found a solution that seemed appropriate for our community. An art installation in Blue Back Square would force the water issue in the faces of our neighbors. We could show them the atrocities going on in the other countries. But this isn’t enough, they know the issues, they have access to internet and cable. They need to know that these issues are current and alive and in dire need of intervention. We need to juxtapose their easy lives with the lives of the people in need of water. And what better way to do this than to combine the art installation with an introduction of these issues into our own functioning society. If we could get the very water jugs used by people in the third world countries into West Hartford we could contrast our commercial lives with the destitute lives of the people who are forced to rely on these jugs to obtain water.