Ensure environmental sustainability
As we near the end of our series on the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and how they relate to Jolkona, we look this week at environmental sustainability.
There are four targets the UN sets for achievement of goal 7:
- Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies
- Reduce biodiversity loss
- Halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation
- By 2020, to have achieved a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers
With the exception of the first goal of eliminating extreme hunger and poverty, perhaps no other goal is as broad reaching as goal 7. Any one of the targets of goal 7 could likely be a goal unto themselves. Sustainable development and the preservation of rain forests has a huge impact on environment and economics of the developing world. And there are in fact hundreds of millions of people living in slum conditions around the world today. But the target we will focus on today is that of clean drinking water and sanitation.
What makes clean water so important? Quite simply, water is life. While it varies somewhat, the average human can only survive three days without water. Because water is so vital to life, many people are forced to drink unclean water because that is all they have available. The problem is a host of horrible diseases–like Cholera and Hepatitis, for example–can be contracted through consumption of dirty or polluted water.
On top of the risk of disease, a huge economic drain is created when people (most often women and children) are forced to walk long distances to acquire water, whether it is clean or not. This travel time is time spent out of school or work. Some estimates place the economic cost, for Africa alone, at $28 BILLION dollars per year.
The good news is that many organizations are doing a great job of drilling wells and working on other clean water projects. The bad news is that even as there are many organizations working on this, it remains a huge issue for billions of people around the globe.
How you can help
Here are a list of Jolkona projects supporting goal 7:
For more information about the issue of access to clean water, check out Charity: Water’s great “Why water” page.