The Women, The water, and The Battle with Education

Here I sit, a young woman, having myself a cold glass of water while I am writing about women from way too young ages, up to ages where they should be graduating high school. Women who take up whole days every day just to fetch water for their families. Women who are forced to wait till sundown while everyone else is asleep to relieve themselves. Women being denied a life worth living just because they are women born in desert dry countries.

These women were unfortunate enough to being born into a society and culture where shaming them is seen as normal. This is the case many places, sadly. They struggle all day with these water walks and the discriminating against relieving themselves when it is needed. In Asia and Africa, a countless number of women must walk an average of six kilometers per day to collect enough water for their family in order for them all to survive. In these parts of the world that is what a “woman’s job” is.

The lack of equality in these cases makes it impossible for these girls and women to spend some or any time at or with school. The lack of water makes their life into a question of “survive?” or “not survive?” at a daily basis. This vicious circle makes me think of this part of the text “Thirst” where it says “Artists painted murals of green meadows and fat cows and cloudy days on the sides of our buildings so the children wouldn’t grow up in a world so yellow” [Max Andrew Dubinsky, Thirst, Page 3] The likelihood of this becoming a reality is not low.

What change will be made if they can not get out in the world and contribute to help their families and others with much less rough, but more effective, hours of work per day than spending nearly whole days doing the same walk every day? As “The Importance of Water” says; it is not only about empowering women, but also economics. It has been proven that countries with increasingly more women working, becomes increasingly more successful economically.

“Statistics show that for every dollar invested in water and sanitation in the developing world, and thus keeping girls in school, a return of between three and thirty-four dollars can be expected.” [Tom Arne Skretteberg, The Importance of Water, page 5.] If this is the case, then why not work harder to keep these girls in school? Are these countries prioritizing repression before stable economy and hydrated citizens? The roots of inequality apparently run too deep for those who are in the position of helping.

As long as these people are not being supported by their countries (and others who are able to help), by receiving clean water for drinking and sanitation, it will be a never-ending circle for generations to come. All until the water they search for dries up and/or becomes more dangerous to drink than to not drink it at all. That limit is not far away from being reached many places, and it has already been reached many places as well. What will they do when the only water left for them is saltwater? “The irony of drowning in a drought was not lost on us” [Thirst, Page 4]

Like Carly said: “That’s just the water talking” [Thirst, Page 3]. Will these people in need of water experience such a drought that having a sip of cold water makes them nearly delusional? Is this the future we’re feeding onto? It may be a fictional text, but it brings a message with something to think about indeed.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals

The UN Sustainable Development goals are the goals that have been set to make the world, to put it lightly, a bit more joyful. Cracking the code to the solution of each and every one of the goals are an incredibly huge job, but there has been a massive amount of progress already and it is most likely to only go forward at this point. They are all important, of course, but in my mind the most important ones and the most interesting ones to further work on would be reduced inequalities, responsible consumption and production, and life below water.

Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries

“Reduced inequalities” is the goal which mostly targets the least developed countries, the landlocked developing countries and the small island developing states. This goal can be viewed as a combination of a couple of the other goals I feel very strongly about. Some examples would be like “gender equality”, “quality education” and “no poverty” as well, since achieving reduced inequality would result in a lot of people being allowed or being able to work when they were not before. After all a lot of women are refused to work, the reason being because of their gender assigned at birth. Also, a lot of young people do not have the ability to work because of the lack of education, which brings us onto the subject of “quality education”, or more appropriately put; the lack of it. These two points most often occur in smaller living areas, where the examples of these areas are mentioned in the beginning of this paragraph.

What I see fit as suggested solutions could be promoting more donations from people who are able to help those in difficult living situations. This would give them the opportunity to for example buy school supplies to further education, to buy more fresh fruits and vegetables and also it would improve the conditions that they are living in. Another possibility could be trying to have teachers, who have the chance, to come and help out in those areas. Education is after all the answer to a lot of our issues, and it seems this is the case here as well.

Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

“Responsible consumption and production” is a goal that very much make the world go around more smoothly without doing as much damage. “Doing more with less” is the common saying around this goal. A very big problem around the topic of responsible consumption is the issue about tossing your food because the container says it is “outdated” type of situation.

We humans get immediately frightened for our health the minute we see a little bit of a green dot in our yogurt. But what could possibly be the solution? As we all know us humans really like to have it our way. If we take this to the perspective of responsible production, I can think of a few things that might help. Like for an instance more frozen-goods counters in stores with low-price, “outdated”, food in them and maybe also changing the label “best before [insert date]” to something that perhaps sound a little less like a ticking time-bomb, as it seems people think it says: “terrible after [insert date]”. Also encouraging people not to buy more food than they are likely to finish would probably help the situation out a good bit. Not to mention the importance of using less plastic wrapping and plastic containers for the food. Yes, plastic wrapping makes food last longer, but could we not just shop a little more often and only shop for what we need and not as much for what we just want to have laying around?

Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources

“Life below water” has a huge impact on our lives as the Gulf Stream regulate our planets temperature, the fish give us food and some of the water here provides us with hydration, so why have we polluted this earth to the point of unintentionally building a whole island of plastic waste? As we all know the ocean is filled to the brim with microplastic and a good bit of not-so-microplastic, which soon enough will make this planet unlivable if we do not take big action into undoing our wrongs.  If we do not work hard to make the ocean closer to its’ original state again, we will not have much left as the ocean is one of the biggest factors making this earth possible to survive on.

What we can do to bring more life back to the ocean again? Thankfully, very much can be done by the average person like recycling, using microfiber washing bags to reduce the amount of microplastic going into the ocean, arrange and join beach clean-ups, and so on. What bigger marine-based corporations could do better is definitely getting stricter rules on picking up after themselves in situations where workers accidentally drop things like helmets, buckets, gloves and so on into the sea. Also, workers who are out in the sea fishing should be more careful with their fishing nets and other objects they’re prone to lose or toss into the ocean. For now, at least, we only have one planet earth to live on, so might as well make it a good place for living.

The UN Sustainable Development goals that I have mainly written about each have a list of goals within them on the UN’s website, and hopefully us humans will work harder than ever to save what we have built all these years. Hopefully we will keep on fighting to make this earth good, and better, for our future generations to come.