March 22nd, "World Water Day"
Clean water, we all deserve it, by Martina Nevado, The Orator HCCC, 2017
Did you know that Ryan Hreljac at the age of 6 years old raised money to build a well in Africa? The vehemence of this child to reach his goal is only comparable to the indifference of adults witnessing the shortcomings an needs of others. How different the world would have been if we never stopped feeling compassion for others as when we were children and we realized that the most natural thing for us, others lack.
Ryan’s first grade teacher told him that the school project was going to be raising money for children in Africa who were dying because they had no water. With the innocence of a child o his age, Ryan asked, ‘why don’t they open the faucet to get water’. His teacher explained to him about the children’s life in Africa, which moved Ryan so much that he promised he will bring the money to build the well they needed. His parents seeing that he was determined to get his goal, supported him by tipping his household chores. Also, the neighbors helped him, until his story was published in the local newspaper and with community support, he managed to build their first well in Uganda. Where he was received as a hero by the children of the school where the well was built.
Today, Ryan Hreljac is 28 years old. He has helped to build 1000 wells around the world. Thanks to these wells, children in developing countries have access to the clean water they need to cook their meals and live a healthier life. Also, he has traveled to many countries to educate and inform the youth about the water crisis on our planet and the care they should have with it. Unfortunately, if we continue to neglect our planet, even Ryan’s wells could be affected. Global warming and waste of water could dry and contaminate the wells.
Like Ryan, other activists and governments around the world have become aware of this issue. “Clean air and water, and a livable climate are inalienable human right” said Leonardo DiCaprio, Academy award in his speech at the United Nations in 2014. “If the price of water was anything like the price of gasoline, nobody would leave the tap running while they brushed their teeth”, said Sadhu Johnston, the Commissioner for Chicago’s Department of Environment, in the article: “Know your footprint: Water”. But we do not just neglect water when we leave the tap open.
Also, we neglect water with the use of chemicals that pollute the atmosphere which caused the ozone hole, thus, global warming. This imbalance in nature further aggravates the situation of places that already suffered from continuous droughts and floods. As the increasing water shortage in Africa and the floods known as the Corrientes del Nino, which this year claimed lives in Peru and Colombia as well. “We are seeing extreme weather events, increased temperatures and the West Antarctica and Greenland Ice Sheets melting. None of this is rhetoric and none of this is hysteria. It is a fact”, emphasizes Leonardo DiCaprio at UN.
However, it seems that the work of Ryan’s Well and other pro earth organizations, have been effective. Scientists have detected that the ozone hole is shrinking. “Humans have started to do the right thing in order to convert the atmosphere back towards what it was before the industrial revolution started”, said Dr. Ken Jucks, Atmosphere Researcher of NASA, to BBC News, 2014.
So, if you are complaining about your life today, imagine if you did not have access to clean water every day, what would you do? We must become aware of the damage we cause to our planet and begin to take care of it. The natural balance of the earth allows the water, treasure of our planet, to reach all mankind. Let’s inherit a better world for our children. Let’s take care of our environment. Let’s take care of the water in our planet.
“I found out where my puzzle piece fits in the world and that is with water. I just hope everyone else finds out where their puzzle piece fits, too.” Ryan Hreljac, founder of the Ryan’s Well Foundation.