Water Water Everywhere

19 05 2008

I’ve never been accused of being overly environmental – if I ever buy a hybrid, it’ll be for the gas mileage, not the carbon footprint. However I do care about Africa, and the poverty, disease and injustice there. It’s one of the reasons I support causes like DATA, Compassion International and Save Darfur. But if you can’t give people water first, then all the other stuff sort of becomes irrelevant. Which is where my concern for Africa overlaps an environmental issue. One in five people in the world do not have safe drinking water. That’s over a billion people. That’s a lot. And many of the worlds diseases are waterborne illnesses. Diseases like typhoid, dysentery, salmonella, diphtheria, E. coli, or cholera – you know, the good stuff. But how do you fix water? It’s not like you can just put money into until it cleans itself.

But I recently heard about two things currently being developed that would radically change the way the world sees its water.

The LifeStraw®

A personal water filter that lasts for a year, kills 99% of bacteria, and only costs $3 – or the amount you spent on coffee this morning. The mind-blow to this is that most of the people who could use this, can’t afford it.

The Slingshot

Dean Kamen, the guy who invented the Segway, is putting his smarts to more noble causes this days, as he develops a new water purifier (or a vapor compression distiller for people with big brains…) called the Slingshot that could purify over 1000 liters of water in a day and in turn wipe out 50% of the world’s disease. Pretty amazing stuff. Colbert interviewed him a few weeks back. Check it out here.

Neither one of these is ready for mass production, but does provide some sweet hope for the future. That’s all for the this public service announcement – we now join your regularly scheduled blogging currently in progress.

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19 07 2008
Creative Olympics…Day 3, part 2 « BLACK GLASSES

[…] the total of the online auction sales matched by the loser. All money raised will go to purchasing LifeStraws and […]

21 07 2008
The Creative Olympics…Closing Ceremonies « BLACK GLASSES

[…] Sir Ryan Hollingsworth. His title will be on the line the next time the Olympics roll around, or you can simply challenge him yourself here. […]

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