Walking for Water: Results and Reflection

Last week, I wrote about the global health issue of potable water access. I wore a pedometer for exactly one week and tracked all (8 oz) glasses of water consumed during that same time period. 25 miles and 30 glasses later*, I learned some things:

  • I don’t drink nearly as much water as I should each day.
  • I walk more than the average american (afterall, this is NYC) but not as much as I think I do.
  • I drank ~2 gallons of water, which would be a lot to carry 3.7 miles one way. I would not have been able to get water just for myself in a less fortunate country, so to drink even the small amount I had, I would need to make the trip several times. 
  • The few times I couldn’t have water whenever I wanted and wherever I happened to be in those 25 miles, I felt annoyed. That’s maybe where #firstworldproblems came from, but there’s something deeper than this internet meme; people in 3rd world countries simply do not know the ubiquitous nature of potable water that can come out of a tap, in giant bottles, from people, homes, and workplaces alike, and to anyone regardless of status. This was a startling, uncomfortable reminder.
  • I didn’t count ice tea for a few days or foods directly prepared with or including water. This was blatantly wrong; we use potable water for more than meets the eye, which is a luxury that is not fact around the world.
I wasn’t totally sure what I’d get from this little experiment, but I definitely have an increased awareness of how much more some people have to trek than I do just to obtain simple necessities. I also feel more angered than I thought… How difficult could it be to bring potable water to other countries?! Organizations like Rotary International are fighting the problem with tangible, lasting solutions, and those of us not on the ground really need to continue educating ourselves and supporting those who are. This little experiment also left me feeling energized by being an American and able to raise a voice to issues like these in a way that hopefully relates to others and inspires change, even in a very small way.

On a lighter note, congratulations to Jeannie Rose, who won the pedometer giveaway! She was the 10th person to share the last blog post. Thanks to all who shared and played!

*There were a few times I do not believe I was properly wearing the pedometer (darn stockings!), and other times that it may have been overly sensitive. I did not wear it at the gym so as not to skew the results as it relates to the purpose of this experiment. I also drank items like iced coffee, coconut water, and beer, which I did not include as water consumed. My step length was conservatively estimated at 25 inches. Some argue these decisions; it’s how I chose to do it.

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