In our connected world today, we are constantly bombarded with data, information, and news. All marketers are working diligently to capture our attention. They want us to buy their product or support their cause. The world has become so “noisy” with data that we tend to keep it on the surface and not let it sink into our minds and impact our thinking our lives. It isn’t until we experience a challenge or need that we begin to understand and appreciate the hardship of others.
As someone who grew up in a philanthropic home and an involved church, I certainly heard the statistics of families and children struggling without access to clean water. While I gave financially, they were always out there, numbers on a page. In February 2017, my wife and I quit our jobs, sold our comfortable home in Dallas, TX, and booked a one-way flight to Peru. As we prepared to go, we confirmed that the water wasn’t safe, so we bought a small filtration device to take with us. Our first few months in Cusco, Peru, was filled with Spanish lessons, hiking, and the daily task of filtering enough water for us to drink that day. Filtering water became a chore, so we would resort to buying the expensive bottled water when we ran out. Slowly it dawned on me that we had a filter from the US, and we had the resources to buy bottled water, what about everyone else? Those who couldn’t afford bottled water just drank what they had and suffered the consequences.
Shortly after that, we moved to the Western Highlands of Guatemala to work at a local non-profit. When we arrived in Guatemala, we quickly discovered that the situation was no better, and with less tourism, the families struggled even more economically. Buying a local bucket filtration system, we established our new routine of daily water filtration.
Organizations like the WHO and UN have complete comprehensive studies to help us understand the situation globally. It is critical that we look at these statistics and, filled with humility that we’re born on the safer side of the world, look for ways to extend these basic human rights to all. For me, this experience took the statistics like the fact that around 485,000 deaths per year come from diarrhea-related to dirty drinking water alone, and put faces to them as I saw the children drinking unsafe water before my eyes. Much progress has been made to make clean water available, and as of 2017, 71% of people globally use safely managed drinking water, but that still leaves 2.2 billion who do not.
At Better Things, we are striving to drive that number to 0. Thanks to on the ground experience for myself, as well as the founder and product developer Michael Watkins, we are producing filtration solutions that provide reliable, point of use, clean water with virtually no ongoing maintenance, and no daily tasks.
When people have access to clean water on-premise, they stay healthier, are more economically productive and stay safer as they avoid long risky trips to gather water. A UNICEF study showed that 60% of primary schools in the developing world lack clean water facilities, and children miss 272 million days of school per year due to diarrhea alone. Clean water is a fundamental human right, and we can ensure that all people have equal access to it. Join us as we bring clean water to a thirsty world!