I really have taken water for granted. I drink a lot of it, love to swim … and intellectually I understand that many people don’t have access to clean water … but (typical for an American), I still take it for granted.

This past summer I had the opportunity to visit the Galapagos on the National Geographic Islander. It was an incredible experience – one of the most enjoyable learning opportunities I’ve had in a long time. We were sailing on water, surrounded by water, swimming and snorkeling on water – and learned just how critical clean water is to the survival of the diverse species living in the Galapagos.

Cory frolics with a playful sea lion off Espanola Island in the Galapagos

Cory frolics with a sea lion near Espanola Island

If that trip wasn’t cool enough, I was later invited to an all-female adventure rafting down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. Mind you, I’ve never been camping in my life and now I was contemplating four nights under the stars with a serious hike out the Bright Angel Trail to end the experience. Of course, I said yes.

The Colorado River ... serene and serious

The Colorado River ... serene and serious

My time in the Grand Canyon was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life. (Check out my Grand Canyon blog posts here, here, here, here, here, and here). Along the way, I came to appreciate access to water like never before. The river was for drinking, for washing, for bathing, and yes, for urinating. The drinking and hand washing water had to be filtered using a complex but portable device. We were hiking and in the hot desert sun each day, so staying hydrated was a must. Hiking out the Bright Angel Trail was tough, and I made sure to stretch my water to last until the next source. The first sight of a sink with running, fresh water was a luxury – and I hope that I can continue to be more serious about my water use and take it less for granted.

So what about all of those people in the world without access to clean water? I am inspired by great thinkers like Michael Pritchard whose TED talk is nothing short of miraculous to me. I’m hoping that by sharing my experiences and his solutions, I can encourage a few folks to both conserve water and support efforts to get clean water to the people who need it most.

*This post is one of thousands participating in Blog Action Day. For more information, check out: blogactionday.change.org

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