Water is life.
That’s not too controversial a statement, is it? Think about it. Because, from time to time, we should think about water, since its deceptive appearance of abundance allows it to be taken for granted far too often. Yeah, I’ll fess up: I’ve been guilty of that. It’s easy to not think about the scarcity of water too much. At least until recently, that is. Want some? Turn a tap at your sink: Bang. Water. There it is.
What if you lived in a place where, when you turned on a tap, undrinkable water or nothing at all dribbled out? What if you lived in a place where you had to walk a long way from home to a hole in the ground to draw your family’s water out of? For millions of people, those scenarios are not too difficult to imagine. In fact, it’s an accurate description of their life.
Water is life.
Accepting that statement means that you can’t just stop there. Without water, life can’t exist. Access to clean water, then, is a basic human right.
As native Los Angelenos, we know, in the back of our minds, that we live in a desert made verdant only through technology. Due to the strain placed on our region by the lack of significant rainfall and an ever-expanding population, the desert is reasserting itself, attempting to reclaim territory. I recently drove through the Sierras, around Lake Isabella, and was stunned by the diminished water levels in the lake. I saw campgrounds that used to sit at the lake’s edge now situated hundreds of feet away from the current water line. Areas that used to be covered by grass, now dust. Paradise Cove? Eh . . . not so much anymore.
Even with our advanced technology and aquasystems, we’re in trouble. In this, however, we’re not alone.
It was with all the above in mind that Groundwork Coffee approached Good Neighbors to become a major partner in their Coffee Meets Water campaign in Sidama, Ethiopia. Coffee Meets Water, along with my partner and good friend Eddy Cola, will travel to Ethiopia to repair 22 wells in the Sidama Region. This effort is the first water project we’re undertaking to help fulfill one of our company’s core values: community, both locally and at origin. We’re going to call this new effort The Groundwater Initiative.
Why Ethiopia? When it comes to coffee, Ethiopia is Grounds Zero. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) Actually, that statement is true for humanity as well as for coffee. Ethiopia is where coffee started. Ethiopia is where the legendary Kaldi saw his goats dancing after eating some mysterious red fruit.
We know that the repair of 22 wells in only one region of Ethiopia isn’t going to solve all of the country’s water issues. But it’s a start, and it’s where we can begin to make a difference, no matter how small, now — at the birthplace of coffee.
We owe a lot to Ethiopia. Will you join us?
Water is Life.