Cycling and World Water Day
Yesterday I wrote about the International Day of Forests. Now its time to talk WATER…
If you are a cyclist who likes to put some distance on your bicycle, you most likely have a very deep relationship with water. Today, however, I am thinking about water, not because I cycled 100 km (actually just 6km to work and another 6km await me on my way home), but because today is World Water Day.
World Water Day was created because, unfortunately, many of us do not have enough respect for water. We use it as if there is no limit to it, we waste huge amounts of it and we despoil it. It is only when we are either forced by nature, such as drought, or when we put ourselves into a dangerous situation do we garner respect for it and start treating it as we should.
There are of course exceptions and I think many cyclists belong to that category. After all when you spend hours on the bike, you are thirsty and start running out of water, you do start to be mindful of water as I did while cycling on the Trans-Oceania Tour.
Cyclists, myself included, even after we finish our century ride and after we reward ourselves with a cold beer tend to focus our thoughts on water around such things as how great the shower will feel on our exhausted body.
The purpose of World Water Day, however, is much bigger than simply focusing on our thirsts and hygiene. This year the UN Agency responsible for World Water Day points out that “almost half of the world’s workers – 1.5 billion people – work in water related sectors and nearly all these jobs depend on water and those that ensure its safe delivery”.
The theme of this year’s Water Day is not Water and Cycling but rather Water and Jobs “focusing on how enough quantity and quality of water can change workers’ lives and livelihoods – and even transform societies and economies.”
We at TDA Global Cycling often talk about how transformative our long distance trips are for the participants. Have you ever seen a young girl’s face, a child whose daily chore is to walk a mile or two or more to a dirty water source in order to bring water home and then see that child’s face when she opens for the first time a faucet, now close to her home, and clean water runs out. That is transformative. This is something I had the good fortune to witness long before I started crossing continents on bikes, long before I even thought this was a good idea.
So today, if you are a cyclist or if you are not, take a minute and drink your clean water slowly, mindfully. Think how fortunate you are and think a bit also about those who are not. It may even make you a better cyclist.