So here’s something I just learned.
Americans spent 480 billion last year on cosmetics. Big number, huh? Now, there’s a problem with about 80% of the world. People all over the planet do not have access to clean water. In villages all over the world, people are forced to get their water from contaminated sources. The water they are drinking is infested with disease, contaminates, even human waste. In a lot of these villages, obtaining clean water would be the simple matter of drilling a well and putting in a hand pump. I’ve heard this can be done for as little as $500 in some places.
So, do you know what the experts say it would cost to end the water problem globally? To drill wells, or implement water pruification systems? 10 Billion. Big number, huh? But wait. That’s less than 2.5% of what we spent on lipstick, mascara and wrinkle cream last year.
Huh. maybe it’s not that big a number after all.
Now here’s why I’m asking, “are you kidding me?”. This whole thing shocks and excites me at the same time. And I have to say, it’s been the topic of conversation for me lately. In fact, I brought it up at lunch on Sunday. I’d met my mother and several other family members for meal, and happened to share what I’ve learned. And it made someone mad at me. I was actually told by one of my family members that I shouldn’t go around telling people this. “No one will want to have lunch with you if this is what you have to talk about. You know, people just have to do what they have to do.” My mother just gently patted me on the knee and told me to drop it. Bless her, I’m sure it was wise, but it was hard for me to swallow.
It just struck me dumb. I guess my perspective may be a little different than some people, because I don’t see how what I was saying is offensive. But you know, it is, really. Because, cosmetics are a luxury and no one wants to feel guilty about their luxuries being related to the deaths of people on the other end of the globe.
But here’s why I don’t think it needs to be taken offensively: if we have 480 billion to spend on luxuries, even as we see our economy continue to disintergrate….. maybe we each could spare 5 bucks to help water get to those who need it. I think I could skip the next eye shadow, and just use up an old one; and just put that 5 bucks toward a well in Africa, or Indonesia, or India or somewhere.
I mean, that isn’t even a sacrifice. I wouldn’t even notice. Would you?
So, sorry if this offends you. I hope you’d still be willing to have lunch with me. Or maybe we could skip lunch, make a pb&j sandwich, my treat, and send our money to blood:water mission or the Eitemillers or someone else and make that 5 bucks matter.