It’s not a water crisis, it’s a culture crisis
Dear Black People (in Flint and elsewhere),
If you can afford to leave the city permanently, do so now. Black folks fled to the North back in the day in order to escape violent racial injustice and find work. Those days are over. Violence racial injustice exists everywhere, and there are no jobs left for you up there. There is no escape as long as yurugu is in control. Might as well go through it in a climate that doesn’t have to deal with blizzards and such. We are sun people, leave the frigid North to the cave people.
Do not think Flint is alone. They are just the canary in the coal mine. There is an oncoming global water crisis and your government will fail you when shit finally hits the fan for the rest of us. Western culture is unsustainable and it’s starting to show.
However, people of Flint, if you are unable or unwilling to move, here’s how temporarily deal with your situation. (The only permanent solution is sovereignty away from yurugu.)
First, any politician or government official that had knowledge of the water situation needs to go immediately if they haven’t already been fired or stepped down. Those at the very top should face criminal prosecution at minimum. Second, you’ve known for years that your city was run by crooks. For Black people, relying on the government has ALWAYS been tantamount to suicide and is just plain irresponsible. We must begin the process of self-determination…effectively going “off the grid.” The government will fix the water supply at some point. Do not let this fool you. Whatever solution they come up with will be unreliable and temporary.
Step 1: PEOPLE STOP SENDING WATER BOTTLES TO FLINT. Not only is this terrible for the environment; it is unsustainable and an inefficient use of money/resources. Send water filters or supplies for people to build their own filters. The best filter I’ve seen on the market is the LifeSaver (here’s a TED Talk about it), but you can easily google how to build your own filters. So let’s say you send 1,000 gallons worth of bottled water to Flint. That’s 8,340 pounds of water you have to ship. It takes energy, which means carbon emissions, and a lot of money to ship that much weight. Not to mention the cost of buying the water itself. Let’s just assume the cost of the water bottles including shipping is $1.00/gallon, or $1,000. Meanwhile, a LifeSaver Expedition jerrycan costs about $290, weighs less than a couple bottles of water, and can safely filter 5,283 gallons of water. It even has a shower attachment you can buy for it. Looks like an easy choice.
Step 2: Once you have the filters, now you need to find sources of water since not everyone will live by one. The two easiest methods would be collecting rainwater (or snow this time of year in some places which can be melted with DIY solar thermal devices) and dehumidifiers. Rainwater can easily be collected by diverting roof gutters to food-grade IBC totes or 55-gallon drums. You will still need to filter the water because western culture has poisoned everything so much, even the rain isn’t always safe and the water can accumulate contaminants from the roofs and gutters themselves on the way to the rain barrels. Dehumidifiers pull water from the humidity in the air. Some dehumidifiers even come with purification/filter systems.
So if you want to donate something, send dehumidifiers and water filters.
Step 3: Greywater recycling. This is more of a long-term, more expensive step. When you take a shower, do laundry, or wash dishes, that same water goes down the drain just like what you flush down the toilet. With a bit of filtering, water from showers, laundry, etc. (known as grey water) can be used in the toilet, so you’re not wasting drinking water to flush the toilet.
These are just a few immediate steps we can take to help the people in Flint. But long-term solutions will need to take a look at all the ways we waste water from farming to manufacturing. The water crisis is real people. Time to get serious.