Live Earth, the organization responsible for 2007's 24-hour Concerts for a Climate in Crisis, is asking you to run. For water, that is.
To raise awareness about (and help combat) the global water crisis, Live Earth, Dow Water & Process Solutions, and the Global Water Challenge are teaming up to host a global series of 6k runs/walks on April 18. It's been estimated that by 2025, two-thirds of the world will live in water scarce areas. In today's world, women and children in under-developed nations already walk as much as six kilometers a day to fetch water suitable for drinking, the inspiration for the 6k distance for the walk/runs.
"The first Live Earth event was largely about people at home watching concerts on TV. With this, we really want people to leave their house and participate, and really become engaged in solving the problem," Live Earth CEO Kevin Wall said at a press conference on Tuesday.
"I challenge people in New York, the next time you go to the grocery store—and hopefully you walk—when you're carrying home your two gallons of milk, see how many times you have to shift hands because of the weight. And women and children are carrying much, much more weight in water."
To help generate interest, Live Earth has enlisted some celebrity help, including Jessica Biel, Pete Wentz, and Grammy Award-winning Angelique Kidjo, who has personal experience with the water crisis.
"I grew up in a poor, dry country. Like all the other girls, I walked to the well every day. But I was lucky—I went after school, so I never missed my lessons," Kidjo said, explaining that many girls began the trek before sun rise and returned midday, having missed a great portion of the school day. The more they missed, the more likely it was that they would stop going altogether.
Education aside, the health statistics shared at Tuesday's event were even more staggering—each day, 5,000 children die as a result of inadequate water infrastructures.
"It's mind-blowing to me. These kids are no different than my son," Wentz said, speaking of his 11-month old son. "If I had to give my little guy water I knew was unsafe? It would totally freak me out."
The Dow Live Earth Run for Water will take place in at least 20 cities around the globe, and smaller communities are welcome to host their own events. Each 6k will feature musical entertainment, as well as "water villages" to educate runners and spectators about solutions to the water crisis—a major goal of the Run for Water.
"I won't stand up here and pretend that learning more has made me the brilliant creator of solutions. I am not. But I am listening," Biel said.
Registration for the event opened Tuesday. The cost to participate has not yet been decided, but money raised will help bring safe water solutions to communities in need.
"What's exciting is, this is a problem we really can solve in a short amount of time," said Paul Faeth, president of Global Water Challenge. "Once a kid gets safe drinking water, their symptoms of illness go away in a couple of days. If we keep giving them safe water, their health is permanently improved."