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To our readers

Ensuring environmental sustainability is a goal – Goal 7 – of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and Muriella’s Corner is committed to support its implementation, in partnership with all who intend to help more than one billion people release their creative energies, to help free them from the shackles of a life of continuing and overwhelming poverty.

Some of you might have noticed that water has been a recurring topic* on Muriella’s Corner and blogs. This seeming bias is due to almost three decades of work in the United Nations in the area of environment, water and sanitation.


17 OCTOBER 2007

Muriella’s Corner

*These are earlier issues on water
To filter or not…
End of an era…error?
Environment and you
Water, water, ice
Tips for Travelers to the Tropics

Most of my work took me to developing countries over short and long periods, working with communities, governments and not-for-profit agencies in the drilling of wells, installation of handpumps, building of latrines.

The theme of water vibrates around the globe. In most developing countries, water quantity and water quality are main hurdles for the people. In others, water quality is the main challenge.

I have seen, first hand, the pain and suffering diseases cause to families who ingest and bathe in water populated by parasites – diseases like dracunculiasis (guinea worm), schisostomiasis,bilharziasis, and all the -isises- you can think of.

People’s lives are very affected, too ill to work, not enough time to go to school as fetching water is one of the main duties, especially of girls, and so on.

But they are forced to drink what is available, even though the source is questionable.

They have no CHOICE.

On the other hand, in the developed countries, there is no lack of water. In the quest to make the water potable, many chemicals are added. One of the most insidious is chlorine.

But, since exotic diseases are not present in the water supply, people are hardly concerned about the chemicals and as such continue to drink,shower and bathe in chlorinated water (swimming pools reek of chlorine).

Some are buying bottled water, but here again, hardly any attention is given to health issues – e.g. the water source from which the water is bottled is questionable; the plastic containers are questionable, pollution issues, the financial costs of buying a bottle of water – not enough to drink per day; no attention given to the water used for showering, bathing, cooking, etc., etc.

What is to be done?

The most important thing, we believe, is for people to know that they have a choice. Information propelled them to be users of bottled water, to choose to drink bottled water instead of tap water. But if their grasp of what propelled them is understood overall, they would also be concerned about the water used for showering, bathing, cooking.

We have prepared a comprehensive newsletter on Water with the following headings:

The Water Cure
Different types of water
Bottled Water – clear choices
Brands of Bottled Water; Filtration systems
Chlorine and cancer?
Chlorine and Asthma?
Testimony on drinking water
Discussion H2O

Given the amount of information this entails, we have decided to send it to you in short sips, so that you can click through and read the article you prefer. We recommend however that you read all of them as they will be of use to you as you make your choices.

We have also developed podcasts on water and can make them available upon request.

We will continue the focus on drinking water (quality and quantity), given the focus on this issues as Goal 7 of the Millennium Development Goals

-Reducing poverty and achieving sustained development must be done in conjunction with a healthy planet. The Millennium Goals recognize that environmental sustainability is part of global economic and social well-being. Unfortunately exploitation of natural resources such as forests, land, water, and fisheries-often by the powerful few-have caused alarming changes in our natural world in recent decades, often harming the most vulnerable people in the world who depend on natural resources for their livelihood.

Goal 7 of the Millennium Development Goals sets out by the year 2015 to:

  • Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes; reverse loss of environmental resources.
  • Reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water.
  • Achieve significant improvement in lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers, by 2020. (Source: millenniumcampaign.org)

For full articles and links go to this webpage

Thank you

Muriella’s Corner

bottled water vs tap water invasion of the plastics

Make your own bottled water – get a filter and save the planet from the invasion of the plastics!

We have been following this trend – read make your own bottled water and save the planet  and bottled vs tap water

Why are people continuing to spend billions of dollars on bottled water? Why are people mindlessly engaging in pollution of the planet, billions of plastic bottles each year?

Again the headlines scream –

Bottled water: A river of money

Clean water comes out of the tap for next to nothing, yet Americans spend more on bottled water than on movie tickets or iPods — a stunning $15 billion last year. Here’s a look at a booming industry’s economics and psychology.

We Americans pitch 38 billion water bottles a year into landfills — in excess of $1 billion worth of plastic. And 24% of the bottled water we buy is tap water repackaged by Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.

Read more here

For documentary on breast cancer click here

Mother Earth Feels our Pain

Mother Earth Abused (c)

If only you could see her and feel her pain
She is totally and unequivocably abused
In intense pain and agony
She is lying on her side in a foetal position
Head resting on a moss-covered rock also slowly disintegrating
Wondering, wondering, wondering…
She used to be fully clothed
She is now half clothed – hardly any covering, hardly any jewelry
Tears flow from her eyes
Before they were tears of joy
Meandering gently around the globe
Now they are tears of woe , agony imbedded in the tears,
Lots of water rushing and flowing, on the one hand
Glaciers melting, floods accumulating, mountains deforested
On the other, not enough to dissipate drought and desertification
Around her is debris and rubble
The foundation on which she lies slowly disintegrating
Disappearing, so disturbing to grasp that
This is the work of Man
This is how Man treats his Mother
Mother Earth

Emgee Poetry, 6 July 2007 (on Gaia)

Kentucky artist Jeff Chapman-Crane has recently completed a new work entitled “The Agony of Gaia”. Originating from the Greek, “Gaia” is the personification of Mother Earth. Unlike most of his work, which is two-dimensional, this piece is a life-sized, figurative sculpture that depicts Mother Earth suffering the abuse of strip-mining. Created in response to the devastation brought about by such mining practices as mountaintop removal and valley fills, the sculpture took over 1500 hours to complete, spanning over 16 years in its creation.
For more information and to see his work click here and to contact him to show the work.

Support Al Gore’s climate change petition  here – and go to Global Warming blogspot

Muriella’s Corner – More on Water

It was a pleasure to see John Kerry, relaxed and very amusing on the Daily Show last night with Jon Stewart.

Yet, while NOT taking himself seriously, he has quite a lot to share with us in his new book

This Moment on Earth: Today’s New Environmentalists and Their Vision for the Future (Hardcover)
by John Kerry (Author), Teresa Heinz Kerry (Author
250 pp – “no pictures”
With input from Al Gore

This book underscores the concern of Muriella’s Corner and environmental sustainability, and is a good source of information on the pollution of the environment. It also shares with us actions people are taking to redress the issues as well as what we can do ourselves to develop a sustainable set of principles that govern our lives. Common sense, practical ways of dealing with the problems are highlighted in the book.

Toxicity, chemicals, cancer, polluted water affect our health, and lack of enforcement of standards help the issues to persist. Citizen awareness and participation is key to improving the health of our shared planet.

Muriella’s Corner supports the content in the book especially the actions being taken by ordinary citizens in redressing the issues raised in the book.

Another attempt to get us to take care of our shared planet.

PS: For those who like to see pictures in a book, you might have to wait for the sequel.

what’s my ecozone???

No doubt, the planet is acting up – hot in one region, cold in the other; floods in one area, drought in the other.

Al Gore and his caravan are spreading the news of global warming and globally warning us that we need to heed his call to be aware of what we are doing to the planet. He will be on the Oprah Show Tuesday, 5 November.

I am grateful that Mr Gore has taken on global warming for the benefit of the planet.

We know that there are mountains, plains/valleys, forests, deserts, land surrounded by water, urban conglomerates – different ecozones in which people reside.

But what many of us usually understand about global warming is that it mainly refers to urban living, urban life. But since this is a shared planet, we need also to know we each contribute to the degradation of ,or sustainability of, the condition of the other ecozones? How are they sustaining our lifestyles? Or affecting our livelihoods? And how are we affecting theirs?

When we look at the global nature of warming as relates to lives, lifestyles and livelihoods, we might begin to realize how intricately intertwined we all are.

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