When the news broke that the Millennium Development Goal on water had been met five years early, we all cheered! In the face of such an achievement, some people asked: do we still need to Thirst for change?
BBC Environment correspondent Roger Harrabin has commented on how these statistics may over-estimate the number of people who really do have clean, safe water to drink.
So, as we prepare to deliver over 50,000 actions calling for an end to water poverty to Downing Street on 15 May, we take a closer look behind the statistics. Here, we highlight three that you might have missed – and show why these numbers add up to a compelling reason to keep on campaigning.
Read about our Thirst for change campaign >
I remember once, at the age of about 10, going on far too long a walk up a Welsh mountain in very unWelsh scorching heat. No one had brought water with them – because, you know, this was a family walk in Wales, not a trek to Machu Picchu.
So when we all realised we were thirsty, we drank from a stream. And it was sweet and it was clean, and if a sheep had died up-stream (which was discussed because we were that kind of family) it certainly didn’t affect either taste or, luckily, our health.
The thing is – I remember this moment because it is not normal for many people in the UK to take their water straight from source – it has to be processed and cleaned and recycled and even added to with compounds to help our teeth and so on. This, of course, is not so for many people living in poor countries across the world.
Call on the PM for safe water and sanitation for all > Continue reading
Pledge your support for the Robin Hood Tax
This blog is an extract from the Pope Paul VI Memorial Lecture, given by the Rt. Hon. Shirley Williams
The banking and financial crisis that has hit much of the world undermines the central hypothesis of a dogma that is almost a religion, the efficient market hypothesis.
This hypothesis holds that free markets are self-correcting, and should not be interfered with. In the name of that dogma, governments in the West removed regulations, softened the rules, permitted the taking of risk beyond what would have been earlier accepted and in effect pushed the market system to its limits.
There are also unmet aid targets that are well known to CAFOD and have become the mantra of thousands of good people intent on serving the Common Good. They have translated that intent into practical objectives, like redeeming debt and like the Millennium Development Goals.
But those goals are a long way from being met. On the basis of the current aid budget, the Millennium goals will take a long time to achieve.
Except for one thing. There is one tax that would enable us not only to pay our debts, but to increase aid to the developing world and subsidise cleaner, greener technologies of energy generation. These might then rescue our fragile planet from the spread of deserts, the scarcity of pure water, the rising of sea levels and the floods that today threaten it. Continue reading