Average Joe Photo Show + water.org:

Just as most everyone throughout the world now possesses some type of mobile phone device to “survive” socially or professionally, in a more literal context so must all people have water to sustain physical survival. This oddly natural pairing of the most basic organic component with the world’s most pervasive technology – the apparatus we have come to depend upon alongside the ingredient we require to stay alive – is the reason we have selected water.org as our philanthropic focus for this years’ exhibition.

We often take for granted the landscape in which we conduct our daily routines, and just as often do not value the sheer marvel of the incredible technological innovations we have so readily available at our fingertips. In the same vein, we frequently do not pause to appreciate the extraordinary miracle of the simplest of our everyday expectations – clean, running water. The endless streams of communication so necessary to our professional and social existence parallel the essential streams of water so vital to our everyday subsistence. Most of the developed Western world presumes drinkable water to be continuously at our easy disposal, often not recognizing this fundamental ingredient to be a gift. It is easy for the population of the developed world to take for granted a daily routine will include showers, dish washing, toilets flushing and the luxury of simply leaving the tap running. Without thinking we drink freely as much water as we desire; shower in endless streams of gloriously hot water and flush our toilets multiple times. Yet if we pause to appreciate the extra glass of readily available water to quench our thirst – in the same way we may stop to value that one incandescent moment captured on film – there is room to gain a greater understanding of the universal connections that bind us together. It is in this regard that the criteria for each image stipulates inclusion of an element of water – from a human tear to an ocean, from a running faucet to a waterfall – thereby showcasing the single most unifying component in our shared worldwide collectivity.

Water Facts (excerpted from the water.org website):

“In just one day 200 million work hours are consumed by women collecting water for their families. This is equivalent to building 28 Empire State Buildings each day” (footnote 1).

“The lost productivity of people collecting water is greater than the combined number of hours worked in a week by employees at Walmart, the United Parcel Service, McDonalds, IBM, Target and Kroger according to Gary White, co founder of water.org.”

“3.4 million people die each year from a water related disease. That is almost the entire city of Los Angeles.”

“780 million people lack access to clean water. That’s almost 2 1/2 times the United States population.”

“More than 3.4 million people die each year from water, sanitation and hygiene-related causes. Nearly all deaths, 99 percent, occur in the developing world” (footnote 2).

“More people have a mobile phone than a toilet” (footnote 3).

For only US $25, water.org can bring someone access to clean water for life.

More facts are available at water.org in their collection of Water Resource Links (/news/resources/).
1. Estimated with data from: WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) for Water Supply and Sanitation. (2010). Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water, 2010 Update; World Health Organization (WHO). (2004). Evaluation of the Costs and Benefits of Water and Sanitation Improvements at the Global Level.

2. World Health Organization (WHO). (2008). Safer Water, Better Health: Costs, benefits, and sustainability of interventions to protect and promote health; Updated Table 1: WSH deaths by region, 2004.

3. Estimated with data from WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) for Water Supply and Sanitation. (2012). Progess on Sanitation and Drinking-Water, 2012 Update; International Telecommunications Union (ITU). (2011). The World in 2011 ICT Facts and Figures; United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). (2011). State of World Population 2011, People and possibilities in a world of 7 billion.

water.org is a registered 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization, and maintains a Four-Star Rating from Charity Navigator. water.org also meets the Council of Better Business Bureaus’ Standards for Charitable Solicitations, and holds the Independent Charities of America’s “Best in America” seal of excellence. Annual fiscal reports are available for viewing on the water.org website. water.org believes in transparency, ethical accounting and donor stewardship.