The Untold Story of Water Access

Posted by Cesar Murillo on

           Here at Mandela Coffee, our belief system is pretty simple: we believe in making a quality product and delivering it to our customers as simply as possible. We believe that great coffee can change everything, from the quality of someone’s day to the way that people think about the tasks they have at hand. And most importantly, we believe that we have an opportunity to help create water access around the world for as many people as possible.

            Those are the beliefs that drive us everyday when we come into work, and we hope that you find some things that you can empathize with therein. We’re honored to be working to establish water access for as many people as possible, and doing so while creating and providing rich, delicious coffee to wonderful people is really only a bonus. Those two things keep us going, but we still need some external motivation every now and again. After all, the days get long and the work can be hard (thankfully - though - the coffee never runs out or gets cold in our office - wonder why…).

            We hope that you’re enjoying our various blends, but more than that, we hope that you’re finding inspiration in it to do what you can to help guarantee water access around the world. Since we know that everyone needs a little bit of extra motivation now and then, though, we thought we’d share with you some of the most interesting and motivating facts we’ve come across regarding water access throughout our journey running Mandela Coffee.  

  • 5 It’s a Much More Widespread Problem Than You May Think

            According to The Water Project, at least experiencing water scarcity as of the end of 2016. We don’t know about you, but that number really began to drive home the issue for us. A little bit of fast math for you: the earth’s estimated population (obviously, this is an approximate number) is roughly 7.6 billion individuals. If you divide that number by nine, that means that more than 840 million people are struggling to find access to clean, safe, quality water.

            Obviously, we find that number to be completely unacceptable. It’s a bit of a depressing picture, but we find motivation in that statistic, and we hope that you do, as well.

  • It’s Not Necessarily Getting Better Rapidly Enough         

            There are a ton of metrics that can be considered when it comes to evaluating water access on a global level. We definitely try to focus on some of the positive ones, but it’s important that we also take the time to evaluate the more frightening aspects of water access.

            As you can tell from our first point in this blog, population is one of the driving factors behind inequality within water access. As a finite resource, water is extremely sensitive to the rapidly expanding human population. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people may not even be aware of how dire the situation currently is relative to the earth’s rapidly expanding population. To put it in perspective, consider the calculation that we outlined above relative to the current global population of approximately 7.6 billion people. With that in mind, consider that the United Nations estimates that there will be 9.8 billion people on earth by the year 2050. Obviously, that doesn’t exactly make water access easier - so we have to let it motivate us to do everything we can to continue working for more equality within water access.

  • Investments in New Technologies May Be Key

            As we move further and further into the future of the emerging water economy, a few things are undeniably clear. While we’ve already detailed that the rapidly expanding human population is a considerable factor, it’s far from the only piece of the puzzle to keep in mind. While we need to do everything that we can to preserve the water that we currently have access to - it’s important to remember that water in question is just that - only the water we have (current) access to.

            You’ve probably heard all the statistics about how much of the earth is covered in water, how much of our bodies are composed of water, and the like. What you may not know is that, though roughly 70 percent of the world’s surface is covered in water, only approximately 2.5% of that water is freshwater. What’s more, National Geographic has reported that of that 2.5%, only 1% of the total freshwater sum is readily accessible to humans.         

            While this might be a bit of a disconcerting statistic, what it means - in our eyes - is that the world may need to be more and more reliant on emerging technologies as time goes on to help access that remaining freshwater.

      4)      Water Running Out Isn’t Just a Thirst Problem

            In speaking with individuals surrounding the water access initiative community and within our coffee operation, we’ve found one misconception about water scarcity to be exceedingly common. Regrettably, many people tend to associate water scarcity or lack of access to water only with thirst. Thirst is certainly a very real problem, but it’s far from the only negative aspect of water scarcity. No, on the contrary, water scarcity poses a great deal of threats to industries and products far outside of the liquid state.

            For example, you may not have known that agriculture and livestock are heavily dependent on readily accessible, clean and pure water. In fact, the United States Geological Survey reports that producing one pound of bread alone requires roughly 200 gallons of water, while one pound of chicken requires nearly 500 gallons! Perhaps even more shockingly, the same source has reported that producing just one cotton shirt - imagine the basic undershirts you purchase in a pack at Costco or Wal-Mart - requires an astonishing 650 gallons of water.

          Now, it may be hard to find the motivating factors in this particular set of statistics, but - have no fear - they’re certainly there. What this means - at least to those of us here at Mandela Coffee - is that we’re far less alone in this mission than we can sometimes appear to be. It means that the more noise we can make for our cause, the more likely we are to attract business professionals, entrepreneurs and environmentalists from across a wide range of industries to collaborate with us in the fight for increased water access, and the better off we will be.  In other words - the fact that people from all walks of life are going to have to face this issue on a professional level breeds confidence within us that the problem will become more public as it becomes rapidly more urgent, and that this will encourage individuals to act.

      5)      Water Activism is Everywhere           

            To end this section on something of a happy note, we’d like to point out that not all of the news surrounding water access at this point in time is bad. In fact, the more that we’ve studied the situation throughout our work at Mandela, we’ve found that while more efforts to increase water protection and water access are always a good thing - the work that we’re doing isn’t as isolated as you might think.

            On the contrary, water activism has become something of a fashionable activity across the last decade or so. There are numerous businesses, cohorts and working groups sprouting up across the United States and around the world - all dedicated to the preservation and conservation of water and the furthering of global water access. In fact, there are even special interest groups in the investment community dedicated to finding and financing new technologies, which will be of undoubted importance as we move further into the future.

            The road ahead is certainly a long one when it comes to our mission of water access around the world. But we know that, with our dedicated and loyal customers on our side, Mandela Coffee can make a meaningful difference.






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