TOLEDO AND THE WORLD
Over the weekend, I watched the local news more than I have all year. Everywhere I went, TVs were tuned in to Toledo news stations, but there was no change in the headlines: “400,000 in Toledo without water,” “Water emergency leaves stores in Toledo completely out of water bottles.” The list went on and on.
Toxins, presumably from farm runoff and other pollution, made the water undrinkable. Not even boiling the water would remove toxins; in fact, it would increase the concentration of the toxins. I can only imagine that the situation that Toledo residents were in was frustrating, scary, and discouraging.
But my full sympathy is not with them.
My sympathy is with the millions of people who are in similar situations every day. Citizens from countries all over the world, including ones in countries that you may not think of as “impoverished,” are dying because they don’t have clean water to drink.
Why aren’t they in the news headlines? Why are we not sending warehouses of water bottles and filtration systems to them?
I’m not trying to belittle the crisis in Toledo, I’m just trying to share my perspective of the situation. To live in Toledo, or anywhere in the U.S., means there is an unspoken promise of getting clean water.
But men, women, and children in Indonesia, Brazil, Haiti, India, Uganda, Ethiopia, and so many other countries have no such assurance. They live day to day, watching their family and neighbors die from what we see as easily curable illnesses.
Let’s take a second and give thanks for the clean, running water we have access to in the U.S.
A Toledo man on the news said, “It’s one of those things you don’t appreciate until you don’t have it.” But what if you never had it?
If you’re interested in donating to charities that help communities gain access to clean water, you can check out Waves For Water and their projects, Water.org, or charity:water. All of them do excellent work all over the globe and would appreciate your aid.
My prayers go out to those in Toledo who were without water and to those all over the world who are struggling with the same thing.
WATER ISSUE WILL HAPPEN AGAIN
Last weekend, the drinking water of 400,000 Toledo residents was fouled by animal waste. With unfettered growth of animal agriculture and ineffective discharge regulations, it will happen again!
The problem has become pervasive. Waste from chicken farms has rendered the ocean off the East Coast unfit for fishing. Waste from Midwest cattle ranches carried by the Mississippi River has created a permanent “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico larger than that of the infamous 2010 BP oil spill.
Animal agriculture dumps more pollution in our waterways than all other human activities combined. Principal pollutants are animal manure, fertilizers, as well as soil particles, organic debris, and pesticides from feed cropland. Manure and fertilizers promote growth of toxic algae that poison drinking water supplies.
Organic matter feeds microorganisms that deplete oxygen and kill fish. Effective regulations to limit dumping of animal waste into water supplies have been blocked by the meat industry.
Fortunately, every one of us has the power to stop this outrage three times a day by saying “no” to polluting meat and dairy products. Our local supermarket offers ample alternatives. Entering “live vegan” in a search engine provides useful recipes and transition tips.
LIBERALS CAN BE HARD WORKERS, TOO
According to Barbara Rice (letter, Aug. 2) religious conservatives apparently believe showing the strength of a person’s faith comes from dehumanizing and mischaracterizing liberals and bashing anyone who thinks differently than conservatives.
Ms. Rice, from my experience, liberal Americans work as hard or harder than others. As a liberal American, I have worked since my teenage years, served in the military and continue working although retired.
I had the opportunity of receiving aid from the government and others when I needed help.
Christ taught us to love our neighbor as ourselves and pull others up, contrary to the conservative view that we pull ourselves up by our bootstraps.
Many, who have been loudest, invoking the language of faith and moral values, are now praising ideas in opposition to the Bible.
Republicans have exchanged the Bible and faith for Darwin’s survival of the fittest and Rand’s philosophy of self-interest and worshipping capitalism.
Conservative leaders want us to believe they are defending Christian principles. To the contrary, Rep. Ryan, author of the GOP budget, is posting videos praising Ayn Rand’s morality of greed and selfishness.
Rep. Ryan is saying Rand’s thinking is the “kind of thinking that is sorely needed.”
Conservatives and Christians can’t have it both ways. Conservatives hand over money in the form of tax breaks and subsidies to the wealthy, Wall Street and big business.
Meanwhile, conservatives expect poor and middle-class Americans to pay more taxes and receive less protection from the dangers of unemployment, age, disability and illness. Conservatives attempt to disgrace the unemployed, disabled, and those experiencing discrimination as these Americans struggle to survive. Conservatives need to choose between Jesus’ teachings of caring for others or selfishness, individualism and self-interest.
When wealthy Americans and corporations won’t spend their money, government fills the void. Republicans’ interests are in the wealthy 2 percent rather than the well-being of all Americans.
The Christian right, corporations and the wealthy are taking over government, a form of Christian fascism which most Americans are beginning to see.