“…And Justice for All”

In his famous essay, Nature, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: “Nature, in its ministry to man, is not only material, but also the process and the result. All the parts incessantly work into each other’s hands for the profit of man. The wind sows the seeds, the sun evaporates the sea; the wind blows vapor to the field […] and thus the endless circulation of the divine charity nourish man.”

As a man born into a flourishing wilderness in the mid 1800’s, Emerson was able to enjoy the blessings of a rich and bountiful environment. Like many of us, he was able to thrive, knowing that his basic sources for survival were always satisfied.

Like other transcendentalists of that time, his ability to write eloquently was partially due to the fact that he chose to abandon much of modern technology to live closer to nature. Thus his observation on nature nourishing man.

For others, approximately a quarter of us, that same nature is a group of parts who work together for the demise of man. Droughts, disease, and a combative environment are shortening the lifespan and damaging the quality of life that millions of people suffer through every day.

Droughts are an egregious cycle that often lead to greed, war, and death. The resource of water is fought over like two dogs competing for rancid meat. In the end, millions of lives are affected, and the rest of humanity is held back as a result. This demonstrates a lose-lose situation.

So, with these thoughts in mind, how are the people affected whose sun not only “evaporates the sea”, but also the rivers and wells used for drinking water? What other impacts do these people face and, what would the world be like if they didn’t suffer?

According to the World Health Organization, 74% of the world population has access to clean drinking water. In a Utilitarian way of thinking, this is progress made since the beginning of humanity. The vast majority of the world is able to advance beyond basic survival.

But, in a more realistic sense, this is a tragic and overwhelming percentage to comprehend. It’s heartbreaking to think that a quarter of the world, despite the exponential technological advances made since the beginning of man, do not have access to clean drinking water.

Regarding access to safe sanitation, the CDC posted on their official website: “Around 2.3 billion people (about 29% [of the world population]) lack access to basic hygiene, which includes access to a hand washing station with soap and water at home”. This, along with the potable water crisis, is a crucial issue that is receiving some attention, but not as much as it needs. While we often complain about politics, the economy, and whether the McRib is back or not, it’s easy to forget that people in this world are not able to wash their hands. It’s not even “a few places”, as some have put it, but nearly a third of the world population.”

As solutions and humanitarian help are currently underway, the philosophical process makes us consider what the world would be like if everyone had access to clean drinking water and sanitation?

As a general rule, people build on their advances. The intellectual success of the ancient Romans is in no small part due to their progress in plumbing, engineering, and advanced mathematics. Their armies were unstoppable because they could spend less time focusing on getting basic needs, and more time on strategy, philosophy, and logistics.

In the 1950’s, the United States and Russia were able to design, build, and launch rockets into space. Why? The answer is simply because it was the next step. Both countries had already graduated from solving the basics of plumbing and electricity, to transportation and engineering needs, to the need of launching rockets.

So, to consider the question, How would the world be different if every human had access to clean drinking water and safe sanitation?, the world would likely advance tenfold. If, hypothetically, the person to cure cancer is currently a child in New Guinea, struggling to find clean water for the day, wouldn’t it be worth every resource to make sure that person gets whatever they need in order to solve this monumental problem?

With regards to the victims of the clean water and safe sanitation crisis, to fight for their well-being is to fight for our own well-being.

On a less dramatic note, I think that if every person had access to clean drinking water and safe sanitation, the world would be a much happier place. Wars, on some fronts, would cease. Toxic politics wouldn’t be as rampant, and more effort could be poured into curing illnesses, protecting the environment, and advancing mankind to a rate and degree which has never been seen before.



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Construction Poet

Construction Poet

Just here to talk about construction, money, and tacos… not necessarily in that order