Love checklists? So do I!
If you need ideas to help you start doing spectacularly little--and yet kind--actions that make a difference, this is for you.
Only drinking water as an action idea to be a world changer might be hard for those of us with vices. But we were meant to make a difference, and through this advocacy project we are changing the world!
The Clean Water Issue (well that’s nice)
As is it is, there are a lot of people without access to clean water in our world.
I don’t mean a lot as in only a few people, like what we typically mean when we say “I told Keith that a lot of people saw him at the club with Sandra. Like, everyone who goes to the club knows who he is! How does he think he can keep his intentions a secret? That is a lot of people! This must finally be serious!”
No. When I say there are a lot of people without clean water, I actually mean a lot. Like one in eight people in our world a lot.
Or if you speak math, I will also write this as a ratio: 1:8.
If you are interested in learning more about what’s up with the whole lack of clean water issue, check out this post: Delicious Water.
Otherwise, I am guessing you are thinking what I am thinking, which is “that’s nice.” But it isn’t really, although that is still our typical response.
But I don’t entirely believe we respond this way because we don’t care. I just think it’s not personal to us. Maybe we just don’t know how to respond to a fact so shocking that it stimulates no emotion at all.
So here is a remedy to make it both personal and help soothe the issue. And I am going to try it out.
Only Drinking Water
The video above really makes it real how much we can drink, how it adds up, and how we can do something about it. This advocacy idea is simply giving up everything you drink EXCEPT for water for a specific amount of time.
Like I said, I am choosing to do it for two weeks. That seems insanely long to me, but I was reading the tweets of Blood:Water Mission, with their 40 Days, and Living Water International with the H2o Project – these guys do this for all of Lent. That is like one freaking month! (Or wait, six weeks or something! Forgive me- I am not Catholic).
Regardless, any prolonged period over one measly day would only be okay if you don’t have a favorite drink you’re addicted to. But there are people out there, people like me, who HAVE to have their coffee or ____ (insert drink of choice here) every morning. For some people it is sweet tea, for others it is jasmine green herbal oh-my-goodness tea. Orange Juice, V8 Juice, or, yes, I am serious–their morning shot of Mountain Dew.
I know, right!? Mountain Dew?! That is disgusting! I keep trying to tell her!
Yet a vice is a vice, no matter what it may be.
And then in addition to the vice, we people like to have the occasional glass of milk, lemonade or Coke too.
Can you challenge yourself to give up everything but water, to give up something you love, even something you think you need?
Can you do it? Heck ya! Go for it!
Can I do it? Heck no! (but I did!)
This whole weekend, in anticipation, I was chugging my coffee (though I was smart enough to start mixing it with decaf), drinking my juice, and even having that rare glass of wine. I knew what was coming. But I didn’t know how hard it would hit. I was expecting it; I just didn’t like it at all.
It makes me imagine I could have handled it better if it was a surprise. But that would probably only make me angry. Angry and without coffee.
So as I write this, I have the headache. I am even a little nauseous from caffeine withdrawals. Earlier, I was yawning so much I fell asleep on my bed, just before five p.m. And this is from someone who only drinks about two cups of coffee a day!
I was cold, so I started looking forward to my afternoon cup of coffee, savoring it in advance. Then I would remember I couldn’t have it. So then I would think “Oh, I will just have tea instead.” Then I would remember again that I can’t have any drink, get mad and proceed to eat random junk food because, hey, at least I could have that. But apparently that was NOT what I wanted.
Apparently, I didn’t know how badly I feel for coffee all those years ago, when I first tasted him.
I wonder if it is ironic that I am giving up everything but water to glean some meager amount of money to give to people to help them have access to clean water? (How much do I really spend on drinks over two weeks? Find out here!)
But when I really think about it, all these other good drinks are only possible because of the water that makes them exist. Water is connected to life. The cows who give us milk drink it and the plants where our juice, tea and coffee come from can’t grow with out it. Even after just one day on this project, I am so much more thankful for water.
In fact, I was even a little proud, like I earned it, when I put the slips of paper in my “Water Fund” jar on the counter today. The “Water Fund” is my method of counting up the number of other drinks besides water I would have had, so I can later add these together to find the combined worth of those drinks.
Then, at the end of my two weeks, I will then write a check to the water charity of my choice. I would be surprised if it ends up being a lot more than $20, but it sure feels cool to work for that $20 (rather than having my Starbucks while writing out my $20 check). That would be like eating my cake and keeping it. And thus the meaning of that phrase would be void.
Pathetically, I think I am slightly beginning to understand what those without clean water might feel and desire. Sometimes it’s probably just healthy to be in touch with the emotion of longing for something you can’t have (read more about how fasting helps you become a world changer here).
As you embark on your own little similar project, please remember there are a lot of good water charities out there. Click on this post, to help you choose one to donate to (please note, that post hasn’t been updated for awhile, so I encourage you to check those organizations through Charity Navigator before donating to them just to be sure they are still the best).
If you do this project, please share about your experience in the comment section. I don’t want to be the only one out there doing this! Good luck!
I’ve heard of small groups only drinking water as a team, and then donating the total they raise (from their own pockets) as an advocacy project to do together. Just one more cool idea for action!
Check out the surprising end of this story by going to Action: Only Drinking Water Pt. 2 to see how much I really spend on drinks!
Update from 2013:
I decided to take it a step further and join with Blood:Water Mission for Lent as I do this (Yes, even though I am still not Catholic). One thing that is cool about doing it with Blood:Water is that they have a drink tracker, to help you keep tabs on how much money you are saving by giving up drinks! Action: Only Drinking Water Pt. 2 describes how I kept tabs on this last last year, which I am still employing for drinks under $1 as the Blood: Water Mission tracker doesn’t count these. Still, I am excited to see what it’s like doing this with a community of other people!
If you liked this advocacy project idea of Only Drinking Water, you might be interested in checking out this guide:
If the idea of "purpose" always seemed a little vague to you AND you don't have a lot of time to spare, this is for you!
Purpose Roadmap: Discover A Story Worth Living is a free mini-workbook with seven-destination points to help you intentionally choose what you want to let motivate you in life. This is what I'm hear for, to empower everyday people like you to know where to start in all of life's craziness to begin discovering our best roles (and not burnt-out roles) to change the world. And this is the perfect place to start!