I have often marveled at the advancements that have been made just in my lifetime alone. At the risk of dating myself… I remember televisions being brought in at my elementary school, so we could watch the Apollo missions, especially when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. I remember being in high school and the teacher asked how many students had a microwave oven in their home; about three raised their hand. She then said that within 15 years almost all American's would own a microwave oven. I remember thinking  “No way!”

I have often marveled at the advancements that have been made just in my lifetime alone. At the risk of dating myself… I remember televisions being brought in at my elementary school, so we could watch the Apollo missions, especially when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. I remember being in high school and the teacher asked how many students had a microwave oven in their home; about three raised their hand. She then said that within 15 years almost all American's would own a microwave oven. I remember thinking  “No way!”

It was about 1992, I was working for the Missouri Department of Conservation and one of the foresters returned from a division conference and he said that they were told that their division goal was within five years every forester would have a computer on their desk – again, “No way!” At that time we were all sharing one computer for the whole office!

Now, not only do most office workers have a computer at their desk, many households have at least one computer (if not multiples), many schools not only have computer labs – they have computers in every classroom. Many college dorms have computers in every room. Computers are now the size of a small notebook, as a matter of fact, you can read hundreds of books on these small “computers.” Some telephones are smaller than the palm of your hand and can call around the world, take a picture, record as a video camera, play music, send a text message, access the internet, and practically make a pizza – or at least provide the recipe for one.

After knowing all of this – I find it astounding that nearly one billion people do not have access to clean water! How can we even fathom what this number really means? According to the website, www.thirsttees.com, it looks like this:

More people have access to a cell phone than a toilet. One in eight people drink water that will make them sick (count all of your family members, or group of friends, figure out how many of them would get sick). Every 19 seconds a child dies from a water-related illness; this is the equivalent to a jumbo jet full of children crashing every four hours. Ninety percent of the 30,000 deaths that occur every week from unsafe water and unhygienic living conditions are children under the age of 5. Women and children have to walk three hours every day to collect water in a jar weighing 40 pounds – this is equivalent to carrying two car tires for three hours. Time spent collecting water is time NOT spent in school, earning an income, or taking care of family. In Africa alone, the overall economic loss due to lack of safe water and sanitation is $28 billion; the huge American conglomerate Walmart, has an annual profit of $11 billion. Africa alone could save 40 billion hours of work with access to clean water; that is the entire annual workforce of France!


Maybe you think that was a long list – maybe that list, which could have been longer, you can see the costs that affect Africa, India and South America. Is it amazing to you that the ancient Romans had cleaner water than half of the people alive today – “No way!” Sad to say it is true.

What can you do about this problem living in America? You can purchase Thirsttees – a T-shirt that gives a percentage of the purchase price to an organization, Thirst Relief International, that builds wells and biosand filters which provide enough clean water for one person for 25 years.

Imagine that – buy one T-shirt, made with ring-spun (super soft) cotton, and that T-shirt will provide enough clean water for one person for 25 years! That, my friend, is how you can “Think Globally and Act Locally!”

To purchase a Thirsttee T-shirt, or for more information, check out:

http://www.thirsttees.com/collections/tees