Featured Media Resource: “Flint” (Aisha Fukushima/RAPtivism)

RAPtivist Aisha Fukushima’s song “Flint” was inspired by a town hall she watched on TV where local residents of Flint, Michigan expressed their concerns and scientists talked about the ongoing impacts of the water crisis. Recognizing parallels between the water crisis and different forms of environmental racism and discrimination in the US, she uses the second and third verses of the song to connect the dots between Flint, #BlackLivesMatter and immigration debates.

Do Now

What does water mean to you? What is your community’s relationship to water? Write song lyrics about the importance of water in your life, in your community and in the world around you. #DoNowWater

How to Do Now 

Do Now by posting a video response in this week’s Flipgrid.

You can also post your response on Twitter or in the comment section below. Be sure to include #DoNowWater in your tweet.

Go here for more tips for using Do Now, using Twitter for teaching, and using other digital tools.

An Abundant Yet Finite Resource

With World Water Day on March 22 and Earth Day approaching on April 22, now is the perfect time to reflect on the importance of water as a precious and finite global resource. In 2010, the UN officially recognized clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right. That said, illness resulting from lack of access to clean water and sanitation is still the second leading cause of death among children around the globe. Also at any given time, approximately half of all people in developing countries suffer from some form of illness caused by a lack of access to clean water and sanitation.

Water rights issues have made recent headlines in the United States. In April 2016, the resistance of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to the construction of an oil pipeline in North Dakota inspired the rise of the #NODAPL movement.

Another major issue that caught my attention as a RAPtivist (rap activist), is the ongoing challenge of the Flint Water Crisis. Over 40 percent of the residents in Flint, Michigan live below the poverty line, and it has been over 1,000 days since they have had access to clean drinking water. Especially high levels of lead were found in Flint’s water. This will likely affect thousands of young people who came in contact with the water who are now more likely to experience serious health problems as a result.  As of March 17, the EPA has designated $100 million to Flint to upgrade infrastructure, but residents are not expected to have clean water until 2019.

The limited nature of water continues to be a pressing issue in many parts of the world. Water is the basis of all life, and good water is a universal human right.

 More Resources

ARTICLE: Causes of the Global Water Crisis and 12 Companies Trying to Solve It (Tech Crunch)

MANUAL: Water- It’s Importance and Source (The Australian Department of Health)

INTERACTIVE: Five Things You Should Know About California’s Water Crisis (National Geographic)

What Does Water Mean To You? 7 April,2017Chanelle Ignant
  • Morgan Reams

    The topic of healthcare has been debated and discussed for a while now with no general consensus. I believe that to a certain extent healthcare is a human right. I think everyone has the right to live a long, happy, and healthy life. It’s amazing that other countries have been able to afford this to their citizens but unfortunately in America that just isn’t our reality. It would be somewhat unrealistic to say every aspect of healthcare could be free of charge from regular check-ups to risky experimental procedures but basic health care should be awarded to all citizens. I think that everyone should have the right to medical attention when his or her life is in danger. When you sit back and think about it, as one of the “wealthiest” nations on the world isn’t it silly that basic health care cant be awarded to all of our citizens? On the other hand defining what “quality healthcare” is can be difficult because that depends on what quality means to each individual. I think there has to be an agreed upon midway point in the healthcare debate. Unfortunately, as much as we try to think of the perfect solution nothing seems to work. We can use ObamaCare/ The Affordable Care Act as an example. To some people this was a great step toward universal healthcare but it obviously didn’t work and now Donald Trump is attempting to make up an alternative, which is failing to even get off of the ground. Overall, I think that basic healthcare is a human right. This does not include special, expensive, and controversial surgeries but everyone should have a quality health care option. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowHealthCare

    • Carly Campbell

      Hey morgan, I completely agree. We definitely should be taken care of by our government to an extent. We pay so much money in tax that they should be giving us our basic health care needs. I like what you said about how one of the wealthiest countries in the world, aka us cant even pay for its own citizens to have healthcare. Also, you’re right about Obamacare not working, but I like the idea of it and how it planned to make american citizens be able to afford their basic needs for medical. Trump isn’t doing such a great job either but who really knows what is going to work until we try. Overall I think that healthcare is a human right (like you said not the expensive stuff). #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowHealthCare

  • Ciana Bell

    The topic of healthcare has always been one in which I try to avoid because of how controversial it is. With that being said, I am torn between believing health care is both a human right and also a privilege. We all have a right to be health and to have that healthcare be provided. However I feel that the quality of the healthcare that you receive is a privilege. Obamacare, otherwise known as the affordable care act, is a perfect example of this. There are many places that don’t accept Obamacare, however individuals who have this can find other places that do accept it and therefore have the right to healthcare and remaining healthy. I have included the link to facts about ObamaCare for further information on an attempt to make healthcare a human right. http://obamacarefacts.com/obamacare-facts/
    #DoNowHealthCare #MyCMSTArgs

    • Grace Gerberich

      I agree with you and like your approach to this controversial issue. Healthcare is always a popular topic of debate and no one is ever fully satisfied when sticking to one side completely. With that being said, I do agree that the quality of the care one receives should be equal and that everyone should be treated with the same care regardless of their income. #DoNowHealthCare #MyCMSTArgs

  • Grace Gerberich

    I believe that health care is indeed a human right, and the fact that it is so expensive nowadays that many can’t afford it is not okay. Especially in the situation where an individual’s life is on the line by an illness or condition. Those who do not have as the funds necessary to afford health care shouldn’t be punished and receive less benefits in order to keep their health in good standing because of what they earn.This is why we need to be analyzing other countries and what they are doing right and better, as well as to see what works and what does not. It will take some time to see what will work the best for America based on our circumstances but we must make a consistent effort. http://www.commonwealthfund.org/topics/international-health-policy/countries/france #DoNowHealthCare #MyCMSTArgs

  • Carly Campbell

    I do somewhat believe that healthcare is a basic human right. The government should pay for our basic needs like women’s reproductive health, our prescriptions and yearly check ups. Since we pay so much in tax, wouldn’t it be beneficial to actually get something out of it? People who cannot afford health care are struggling and need assistance while rich people are laughing all the way to the bank. The priorities in this country are pretty messed up when it comes to where money is dispersed. One of the other big problems in american is big pharmacompanies selling us drugs that are WAY over priced. The sad thing is, there people know citizens need these drugs in order to live, so they will have to end up paying for them if they want to stay alive…Overall we should take down big pharma and have our tax dollars go to something better like our own healthcare. I know Id rather have sick people being taken care of then have a stupid wall when there already is one on the american mexican border. nough said. #DoNowHealthCare #MyCMSTArgs http://healthcare.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=001602

    • eric m

      Couldn’t agree anymore with you. This country needs to get our act together and lead by example and this can be the perfect thing

  • eric m

    I believe that health care should be available to anyone know matter what the circumstance is. Wealth shouldn’t play a role at all when it comes down to who should and should not get health care. The United States is one of the wealthiest countries hands down and we have trouble offering the simple tool of providing people with health care?!? I think that really crazy and honestly this topic should be a no brainer. If you are a U.S. citizen you should be able to receive health care #DoNowHealthCare #MyCMSTArgs

  • Stone Dennison

    Water is almost literally life. Water provides the staple for the processes of most living organisms. Water therefore should be a basic human right, the right to hydration. People in Flint, Michigan are facing an atrocious crime to human nature. Resources are limited, but our government should make clean water a priority, without it we don’t have a species. The directions of the post said to write lyrics for a song, I believe this is to appeal to the water crisis and such with song. I will not do this as I believe this is a very ineffective way of spotlighting the problem with the availability of clean, lead free water. We do not need catchy rhymes, we need real action. #MYCMSTArgs #donowwater

    • Trevor Ramsey

      The neglect of traditional maintenance and upgrades performed on some city infrastructures down right atrocious. The cost to rebuild an already failed system is more than it would cost to maintain regular inspections and repairs. This should be a topic that gets more recognition because of the need as a human right. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowWater

  • Trevor Ramsey

    The human bodies need for clean water to survive makes drinkable water more than a luxury, it is a necessity. The human body is made up of roughly 70% water requiring the average adult to drink eight 8-ounc glasses of water a day. While there are many ways humans are damaging the earths clean water reserves, the most damage comes from as a direct result of neglect. The corroded lead pipes that carry people water to their faucets are the source of many illnesses associated to lack of clean drinking water. An article from The Detroit News explains that contaminated water is not only dangerous if ingested, but can be damaging to hair and skin if exposed. No one should wonder where they will find clean water to drink when many cities have infrastructure that is capable of delivering water to every home. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowWater
    source: http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/michigan/flint-water-crisis/2016/03/28/flint-lead-exposure-hair-skin/82364542/

    • Stone Dennison

      It is true water is roughly 70% of our bodies. Therefore the water that makes up our bodies should not be making us sick at the same time. I do not know if it is true that we need to drink eight 8 ounce cups of water a day. This statement is very sujective, everybody has different needs and this may too much/ or too little depending on whom we are speaking. I agree with the statement that lead pipes that carry water may damage skin and hair. It is wide known that lead is terrible for the body. Lead based paints used in housing was banned in 1978 to the correlative cancer affects. Water is a human right, and the UN believes so.. http://www.unric.org/en/water/27360-making-water-a-human-right #myCMSTArgs #DoNowWater

    • Seryna Valencia

      I agree that we need water to survive but I know that I don’t drink my privileged 8-ounces a day; I get buy on less. Yes I drink water when ever I need it or become thirsty but where where I feel guilty is where I waste it. Washing my car, taking long showers and cleaning my dishes. I feel like we, those with access to a lot of clean water should be further heavily restricted so that those who go without, can have what we save!

    • Owen Smith

      I agree with all of what you’re saying. You’ve spoken upon an interesting subcategory of this issue, as faulty irrigation and pipes is a growing issue all over the world. However, it is not spoken upon enough and therefor does not receive the attention that is necessary to remedy the situation. Revitalizing our water transportation systems will inevitably improve water conditions, and in turn improve the quality of lives for people everywhere. Water is such an important and undeniable issue, that it is truly shocking that we avoid this conversation as much as we do. As you said, water is more than a luxury, it’s a necessity.
      #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowWater

  • Seryna Valencia

    To me water is a unrealized privilege. All growing up and to this day I am able to drink water whenever and as much as I want. I am embarrassed to say that play in, bathe in and clean with clean water. Growing up I did not realize what a privilege clean water is and now that I understand that other people in the world or even in the same country as me dont have access to water like I do, I feel guilty that I am stuck in my wasteful water ways. In my community we have reminders about ways to conserve water. For example I have been handed flyers and that give ways that I can save water in my household: turning off the foset when brushing my teeth, washing my hair and when washing my dishes. My elementary school also had water conserving challenges that I believe still go on today. I think that my community has the awareness of water conservation but I do not think it is a priority on most peoples minds.
    Song: Hold back the river, let me look in your eyes
    Hold back the river, so I
    Can stop for a minute and see where you hide
    Hold back the river, hold back

  • Ciana Bell

    In my opinion water is a right, because it is essential to our survival. The amount of water we have for showering, cooking, and other “fun” benefits is what is the privilege. For me, water is crucial to my everyday life, I shower, drink at least 8 cups of water, do laundry, get ready, and cook, all things which I use water for. Without water I honestly do not know what my life would look like, or how good my life would be. With the drought still being a concern for many, I think that individuals and communities need to be cautious of the amount of water they are using on a daily basis. Furthermore, water is crucial in growing the food we eat, to feed animals, and so much more. With all of this in mind, I think it is important to understand that water is both a right to our survival but also a privilege. #DoNowWater #MyCMSTArgs

    • Yasmin Gonzalez

      I completely agree with you water is a right but not all those are given that right. Ultimately access to clean water comes down to money those living in poverty in places like Malawi don’t get clean water and are forced to drink water that causes disease and can lead to death. It’s sad to think that in the U.S. we take water for granted and are wasteful because we’ve never experienced what its like to live without water. It’s crucial to the survival of people and everyone should be given the accessibility to this water. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowWater

  • Yasmin Gonzalez

    I recently watched the documentary water first which shows the struggles that people of Malawi go through because of their lack of clean water. These peoples lack of access to sanitary water leads to them having to travel to get water that is unclean and contains water born diseases. Drinking this dirty water causes many deaths and illnesses for which most don’t have a hospital or health clinic. The documentary brings awareness of the problem and shows the “Fresh Water Project” which is a way to promote sanitation and water for these people to try and decrease illness and death. The reason these people don’t get access to water and medical services is because they are living in poverty i think it is wrong that the basis of whether a person receives water and medical aid is money. I think water and medical services are a peoples right and should be provided at no cost not be something that is sold to the highest payer. The people who are deprived of water due to their financial status are suffering from a social and political injustice. http://www.freshwaterintl.org/documentary-film/ Water to me is a crucial mean of survival that people in places where it isn’t scarce take for granted. My community has easy access to water we have water to wash our dishes and clothes with, we have water for air conditioning, water for drinking, cooking, showering, washing our hands, washing our cars, swimming, hot tubbing etc. My community has a high abundance and accessibility to water and yet knowing there are places that have no clean water we are wasteful. #DoNowWater #MyCMSTArgs

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