In Brazil, 113,000 cisterns have already been installed to collect rainwater for almost 700,000 people, part of a larger effort to install 1 million.
Laxman Singh has dedicated his life to reviving traditional rainwater
harvesting systems in parched villages in western India. Under Laxman's leadership, villagers have built new reservoirs and irrigated their fields. The results of this work are everywhere. In the village of Laporiya, harvests of wheat, lentils and vegetables have tripled, and the water table has risen by 45 feet.
Women tap water from a central well in Laporiya, a
remote village in the drought-prone state of Rajasthan, India. Since 1991, levels in the wells have risen from 60 feet below ground to just 15 feet. The gains have come thanks to the revival of traditional rainwater capture techniques: Villagers have rebuilt collection ponds, repaired masonry storage tanks and created earthen percolation reservoirs that help recharge groundwater. Laporiya has been recognized as the only village in the district that did not require aid in the form of water tankers.
A Billion Slingshots 199
Global freshwater consumption rose sixfold in the 20th century, more than twice the rate of population growth.
715 trillion gallons of gray water are now reclaimed and reused in industry and irrigation around the world every year.
At an estimated cost of $35 billion, Libya is building one of the most extensive water systems in the history of the world. The project is expected to carry water from the vast aquifiers under the Sahara to the Mediterranean coastal region, where 90 percent of the population lives. Libya is already mining 35 billion cubic feet of water annually and will reap 1,400 billion cubic feet each year — which scientists worry could empty the aquifers in as little as 40 years. Libyan head of state Moammar Gadhafi calls the project the “Eighth Wonder of the World.”
A worker checks the water gauge at the Tuas Seawater Desalination Plant in Singapore. Using reverse-osmosis advanced filter technology, the plant treats approximately 30 million gallons of water per day, about 10 percent of Singapore's daily consumption. The largest of its kind in Asia, the plant was constructed in 2005 to reduce Singapore's dependence on imported water from Malaysia.
Roslan Rahman, AFP, Getty Images
Dwindling freshwater resources threaten the key ingredient in Coca Cola’s
business, so water conservation has become key to the company’s bottom line. Coke has built high-tech bottling facilities like this one in Denver. As bottles and cans pass through the system above, they’re rinsed by air, not water. While conventional bottling facilities use nearly 3 liters of water for every liter of soda, plants like this one can cut water waste in half. Joanna B. Pinneo 200 Blue Planet Run
A Billion Slingshots 201
A new water prize to encourage entrepreneurs to focus on the
global water crisis is being created by Andrew Benedek (right), founder of Zenon Membrane Solutions, who invented a membrane filtration system considered to be one of the biggest breakthroughs in water treatment since the development of sand filtration and chlorine disinfection a century ago; and Monique Barbut, CEO of the Global Environment Facility, director of a $3 billion fund helping poor countries deal with climate change. In June 2007 they met in Paris to solicit support from Jean-Louis Chaussade, CEO of Suez Environment, who heads the world's largest private water company. Gerard Uferas
Tigist Tadesse has a dream of providing tap water and sanitation to everyone in her village of Ginchi, Ethiopia. In addition to her responsibilities as a shopkeeper and mother of three, Tigist researches and publicizes water-related statistics about her village. Her efforts have led to the construction of 20 community toilets and more than 100 taps around her neighborhood since 2005.
ASHOKA FELLOW Marta Echavarria has established water markets that assign price tags to the environmental benefits of healthy watersheds. This measurable value allows all parties — farmers, environmentalists, water companies, electric companies and governments — to better understand the value of water. Marta’s multi-tiered strategy establishes private funds for watershed management and coordinates watershed conservation plans between upstream and downstream users. Piloted in Colombia, Marta’s model continues to spread and have success in communities throughout Latin America.
Ivan Kashinsky A Billion Slingshots 203
In the world's poorest communities, people spend 5 to 10 times more for water than those in the developed, a sum that can represent more than 20% of their incomes.
Small-scale water technologies such as drip irrigation and treadle pumps are providing an estimated $100 billion in economic value to the developing world.
Jagganath Mule, a farmer in the Sindhi Kalegoan village in southwest India, has dramatically increased the yield of his vegetable crop thanks to a low-cost drip irrigation system based on “pepsees.” The system was invented by an Indian farmer who had a side business selling frozen Popsicles. One day he realized that he could wind long, uncut rolls of durable Popsicle wrappers along the rows of his crops and then pump water into them. The holes in the perforations between each Popsicle wrapper acted as distribution points for the water in the tube.
The seeds in this photograph were grown using the “pepsees” drip irrigation
system. Sometimes the original tubes made of clear plastic allowed algae to grow and contaminate the water. The manufacturer, delighted that its product had a vast secondary market, is now producing a line of black wrappers to solve the problem.
204 Blue Planet Run
A Billion Slingshots 205
Only 5 percent, or $4 billion, of all international aid from developed countries goes to water and sanitation projects.
For about what people in the U.S. spend on bottled water every year ($10 billion), the world could halve the number of people without access to clean water by 2015.
Bottles of water fetch $20 each in the name of charity. A group called Charity: Water uses every dime of the purchase price to dig freshwater wells in Uganda, Malawi, Central African Republic, Scott Harrison Ethiopia and Liberia.
Bottled water has a deservedly bad reputation these days. So how is it that 32-year-old Scott Harrison, a former party promoter turned water evangelist, can sell tens of thousands of bottles of his own Charity: Water brand for $20 a pop? Simple. He tells his customers that they aren't buying bottled water; they're building wells in Africa. A small coterie of black-tie twenty-somethings have raised over a million dollars. Photographs taken by Harrison, an accomplished photojournalist, are part of the draw at high-profile fund-raising events ranging from the Sundance Film festival to exhibits in New York City’s Union Square. Using Internet technology, volunteers with cameras and images overlayed on Google Maps, Harrison brings home storiesoftransformedcommunitiestoenabledonorstoseethe benefits their donations.
One fifth of the world’s population and a third of the Earth’s land surface (15 million square miles) is threatened by global desertification.
Desalination plants are the artificial rivers of the Middle East, accounting for nearly 40 percent of municipal water supplies in the region.
Spain’s push to develop its arid southern coast for tourism has
required it to tap the Mediterranean Sea for fresh water. The country’s 700 desalination plants produce 800 million gallons yearly. Worldwide, more than 12,000 desalination plants produce more than 4.4 trillion gallons. Georg Fischer, Bilderberg, Aurora Photos
Workers install one of the 9,000 filters at the $256 million desalination plant in Yuma,
Arizona, which removes salty runoff from U.S. farms on the Colorado River. The plant, 70 miles from the sea, came online in 2007, in the middle of an eight-year drought in the West. Water from the plant goes to Mexico under treaty obligations, and it is 40 times more expensive than water obtained from other natural sources.
Jim Richardson, National Geographic, Getty Images
A technician draws a water sample from a reverse-osmosis filter at the Heemskerk
desalination plant in the Netherlands. Reverse-osmosis technology uses semi-permeable membranes to remove salt and pollutants from water. Already in household purification systems, reverse-osmosis technology is taking over the desalination industry, replacing plants that use heat to distill water. 208 Blue Planet Run
Marc Steinmetz, Aurora Photos A Billion Slingshots 209
To keep pace with the growing demand for food, it is estimated that about 15 percent more fresh water will have to be withdrawn for agricultural purposes by 2030.
More than 10,000 nongovernmental organizations around the world are helping to address the world's water crisis.
Deborah and Ann Njenga water their farm in Juja, Kenya. Ann’s
KickStart water pump has taken her beyond subsistence farming and opened up new business opportunities, including an exotic flower nursery, a tilapia fish farm and the occasional car wash.
Stephen Ngiri demonstrates KickStart’s low-tech micro-irrigation solution for rural
farmers in Kenya. The pedal-powered water pump has enabled Stephen and his family to increase tomato output by five times and employ an additional eight workers during harvest season. Stephen Digges
Nick Moon and Martin Fisher came up with the concept of the KickStart pump
in Kenya during the early 1990s after observing that aid projects tended to wither once the aid workers returned home. Their concept was to create an affordable and easy-to-manufacture device that would empower landowners to become “farmerpreneurs.” KickStart water pumps are produced locally and sold to farmers in Kenya, Tanzania and Mali. These human-powered pumps enable farmers to plant three or four crops a year, increasing incomes as much as tenfold. Michael Collopy 210 Blue Planet Run
A Billion Slingshots 211
In 2003, Peter Agre won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his discovery of aquaporins, membrane proteins that prevent pollutants from entering cells. By arranging water molecules into single lines, these pathways ensure that only pure water is allowed to pass through them. Cells are smart; they have learned that one of the most important things a cell needs is pure water. Humans are smart too, but desperation leads people to drink water they know is polluted when the alternative is no water at all. The 1.1 billion people who live in poverty and lack access to clean water are forced to take what is available, even when that water contains heavy metals, solvents, bacteria, protozoa, viruses or parasites. They drink it even if it means risking paralysis from polio, deformity from Schistosoma, or death from cholera or typhoid. Children are the most vulnerable because most of the poor people in the world are children. Today, in late 2007, the human race is at a critical juncture. If you look at the science that describes what is happening on Earth today and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t have the correct data. Yet, around the world, in every country and city and culture, there are compelling, coherent, self-organized congregations involving tens of millions of people dedicating themselves to change. What we are seeing everywhere around the globe are ordinary and not-so-ordinary individuals willing to confront despair, power and incalculable odds in an attempt to restore some semblance of grace, justice and beauty to this world. Every person who works on behalf of humanity has a unique story. My friend Jin Zidell is a perfect example of this global movement. The seed for his Blue Planet Run Foundation was planted in 2002 in a small Indian café called Avatar’s located in Sausalito, California. Avatar’s is legendary in our homely industrial neighborhood for taking the idea of service to a new level. People line up for hours on Thanksgiving when owner Ashok and his family provide free meals to all patrons as a way to honor his late brother-in-law. On that day, turkeypumpkin enchiladas, seared vegetables and cumin-laden soups stream out from More than sixty days into the Blue Planet Run, Lansing Brewer
the kitchen until late into the night.
crosses the Bixby Creek Arch Bridge, on a foggy cliff-side stretch of California’s Pacific Coast Highway. Lansing, who celebrated his sixtieth birthday before the run began, is the team’s senior participant, and a constant source of inspiration to the younger runners.
Blue Planet Run 213
Taeko Terauchi-Loutitt runs along the Donau River in Vienna, Austria on June 18, 2007. Born in Tochigi, Japan, Taeko started running 16 years ago. Her selfless decision to run around the world had an unexpected personal benefit when she fell in love with fellow runner Canadian Jason Louttit during the three month relay race.
Jin Zidell asked if we could meet because he wanted to do something to make a difference in a world that appeared to be spinning out of control. Like Ashok, Jin had lost a loved one, his wife, and had spent a long and profound period in mourning. To those of us who were his friends, his heartache seemed bottomless and immeasurable. But on that day we met for lunch, Jin seemed different. He wanted to do something to honor Linda. What struck me as we spoke was the scope of Jin’s dreams. His eyes were as big as his love for Linda. His grief had become resolve. When Jin asked me to suggest a way he could make a real difference I suggested that he do something that was measurable, something that could change an individual’s life in a single day, that he focus on a global problem that could be solved in a decade, an endeavor that could actually push the needle with respect to improving peoples’ lives and the environment. He looked at me puzzled and asked, what would that be? I knew of only one thing: water. Ninety minutes later, he left determined to find a way to provide safe drinking water to 200 million people for the rest of their lives by 2027. Since that day, Jin has never looked back. Five years later the Blue Planet Run Foundation has three major initiatives under way. The first is the Peer Water Exchange, which aims to enjoin thousands of non-governmental organizations to find, fund and share the best water projects around the world. The second is the extraordinary photography book you are holding in your hands, designed to bring home Jin’s belief that that pure water is a right, not a commodity. The third initiative of the Blue Planet Run Foundation is the circumnavigation of the globe by runners, symbolizing a circle in our hearts and minds, a closing of the loop of love, care and responsibility that people share for each other. From June 1 through September 4, 2007, a team of 22 dedicated runners set aside their own lives for 95 days to carry a message to the entire planet that undrinkable water is unthinkable in today’s world. If the Blue Planet Run Foundation can change the world to ensure that no child will ever be harmed by the water he or she drinks, then it will be one of the great miracles of the 21st century. And Jin’s dedication to the memory of the person he loved most will have changed the world. — Paul Hawken
The movements begins with a step, followed by millions more.
From June 1 through September 4, 2007, a team of 22 athletes engaged in an extraordinary circumnavigation of the globe, running 15,200 miles, across 16 countries and 4 continents, 24 hours a day for 95 days to raise awareness about the global water crisis. 1. Jin Zidell, Founder and Chairman, Blue Planet Run Foundation 2. Jason Gross, 30, Washington, DC 3. Will Dobbie, 25, Seattle, WA 4. Mary Chervenak, 39, Anderson, SC 5. Dot Helling, 57, Yokohama, Japan 6. Richard Johnson, 30, Pittsburgh, PA
7. Brynn Harrington, 29, Milwaukee, WI 8. Rudy van Prooyen, 57, Den Haag, Netherlands 9. Laurel Dudley, 26, Dorset, VT
10. Laura Furtado, 43, Belo Horizonte, Brazil 11. Simon Isaacs, 26, Boston, MA 12. Shiri Leventhal, 23, Cleveland, OH 13. David Christof, 27, Prague, Czech Republic 14. Melissa Moon, 37, Wellington, New Zealand 15. Victor Lara Ricco, 33, Guatemala City, Guatemala 16. Paul Rogan, 37, Haltwhistle, Northumberland, England 17. Jason Loutitt, 33, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 18. Taeko Terauchi, 34, Tochigi, Japan 19. Sunila Jayaraj, 29, Kolar, IN 20. Emmanuel Kibet, 29, Moiben, Kenya 21. Lansing Brewer, 60, Winston-Salem, NC 22. Sean Harrington, 30, Calgary, Alberta, Canada 23. Heiko Weiner, 44, Suhl, Germany William Coupon
TOP ROW: New York City, NY New York City, NY
Rick Smolan BOTTOM ROW, left to right: New York City, NY
Rick Smolan / New York City, NY
Rick Smolan / New York City, NY
Misha Erwitt / Bloomington, IL
Delivering the Message
Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Belarus, Russia, Mongolia, China, Japan and Canada.
For centuries, news and warnings from distant lands were spread from village to village, and from country
Each runner pledged to run 10 miles a day, and they alternated duties between 1,500 exchange points
to country, by messengers traveling great distances through treacherous and often untamed landscapes.
on their way around the globe. At each point, they took a moment to face each other and recite their
Once the bearer arrived, the details would be recited or sung in chants and melodies. Moments later,
message, which included an ancient Iroquois prayer:
another runner would be dispatched to the next village carrying the news to every corner of the land. That ancient tradition was restored on June 1, 2007, as 20 runners representing 13 nationalities departed
Water is life. We know its power in many forms — waterfalls and rain, mists and streams, rivers and oceans.
the United Nations in New York on an extraordinary 95-day, nonstop relay race. The message: More than
With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to the spirit of water. Now our minds are one.
1 billion people lack access to water they need for everyday life, and the rest of us can and should help alleviate the problem.
218 Blue Planet Run
We give thanks to all the Waters of the world for quenching our thirst and providing us with strength.
“Runners have always been the messengers,” said Simon Isaacs as he ran across the flat, dusty Mongolian steppe past a slightly bewildered nomadic herdsman. It was his 27th birthday and he was celebrating by
The Blue Planet Run would be the first of its kind to circumnavigate the globe, spanning 15,200 miles and
running 27 miles, a full marathon plus one for good measure. For Issacs, who had been working in Rwanda
16 countries including the United States, Ireland, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, the Netherlands,
on a water management project the previous summer, the run was an honor he didn’t take lightly. Blue Planet Run 219
Kenyan-born Emanuel Kibet runs above the deepest lake in the world, Russia’s Lake Baikal, which contains a fifth of Earth’s fresh water. Kibet, who is one of 7 children, worked as a farmer, butcher and firefighter before starting his running career six years ago. He says he hopes his run will “help alleviate human suffering.”
TOP ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT: Kemerovo, Russia China
Chris Emerick / Midland, MI
Mark Leong, Redux Pictures / Chicago, IL
Chris Emerick / Beijing, China
Mark Leong, Redux Pictures / Gobi Desert, Mongolia
Chris Emerick BOTTOM ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT: Zhangbei,
David Christof, a student counselor at Miami University in Ohio, spent his summer vacation spreading the
Once Zidell had secured sponsorship for the run from Dow, he focused on recruiting a team of inspired
message. On Day 17, Christof’s team rearranged its schedule so he could take the lead on a homecoming
runners and negotiating permission for them to run through 16 nations around the northern hemisphere.
run into his native Czechoslovakia across Prague’s historic Charles Bridge. “With goodwill,” said Christof, “monumental achievements are possible.”
to Apple Computer and Microsoft, as a casual advisor on the Foundation’s internet strategy. It didn’t
The Blue Planet Run is part of industrialist-turned-environmental-philanthropist Jin Zidell’s larger plan
take Kursh long to become a passionate supporter of the Foundation’s efforts, or to realize that the
to generate sufficient resources to provide fresh water to 200 million people over the next 20 years.
Foundation could use some management help. So, in October 2006, Kursh asked Zidell to stop by
The first step was finding a like-minded corporate sponsor to fund the run. He met his match in Andrew
his house, and then volunteered to serve as CEO of the Foundation. Zidell accepted the offer on the
Liveris, chairman and CEO of the Dow Chemical Company, who shared the same vision.
spot, and announced it to his team that afternoon. Kursh immediately set about creating a management
“Today, 1.1 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water. To put that in context, that number is
222 Blue Planet Run
In mid-2006, Zidell enlisted his neighbor, Matt Kursh, a serial entrepreneur who had sold companies
framework that would allow the massive global task to operate smoothly and efficiently.
approximately equal to the entire population of the world at the time our company was founded in 1897,”
Olympic Torch Run veteran Dill Driscoll and his event production team at ignition took on the
Liveris said. “Our partnership with the Blue Planet Run Foundation is a signature investment in awareness
overwhelming task of planning the route and logistics across four continents, as well as moving 22 runners
and education of this key issue facing the global community.”
and 30 staff 160 miles each day. Day and night, they remained the runners’ faithful guides and cheerleaders. Blue Planet Run 223
Vermont Attorney, Dot Helling, 57, has run more than 100 marathons in her career, but her run along the Great Wall of China during one of the more exotic legs of the 15,200 mile race was by far the highlight. “The Chinese were fascinated by my Blue Planet Run team outfit and my muscles — they made me feel like a celebrity. In fact, some thought I was there to train for the Olympics.”
TOP ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT: Kemerovo, Russia
Chris Emerick / Paris, France
Chris Emerick / Orsa, Belarus
Nicholas Tavernier / Kansk, Russia
Chris Emerick / Paris, France
Nicholas Tavernier / Kansas City, MO
The runners were divided into five teams of four runners. Each team was expected to run a 40-mile leg
utilized. The exteriors were decorated with Web site addresses directing people to donate money for the
during its six-hour shift. Despite every precaution, however, not everything went smoothly. One of the
water crisis — but the windows were reserved for several pairs of legs stretching out between stints. The
alternate athletes broke his ankle on his first day while running through Belgium. In Russia, the Silver Team
hot showers in these rolling locker rooms came in the form of disposable wipes.
careened across a highway when its van’s front axle broke. Shortly thereafter, in Mongolia, the team’s next van was hit by a drunken driver. And in China, Suniyla Jayaraj had to battle his way through one of the worst traffic jams encountered on the trip to reach the exchange point at the Great Wall.
Brewer, a retired teacher from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, had to be ordered by team doctor John Pershing to stop running more than his daily 10 miles. Years before, Brewer had developed a water quality
Will Dobbie, who had spent the previous summer researching water problems at Kenya’s Lake Victoria,
education program for his students, and now, on his first trip out of North America, it was his time to live
found himself battling stomach problems day after day while running through Russia and China. And he
out that message.
wasn’t alone: At one point the teams were forced to temporarily swap members just to keep pace while the sick recovered.
226 Blue Planet Run
But adversity only seemed to strengthen the will of the runners. The oldest runner, 60-year-old Lansing
Long-distance running is rarely considered a team sport, but a distance of 15,200 miles can only be accomplished as a team. On paper, the Blue Team seemed a most unlikely partnership: Paul Rogan was a
The reality of the Blue Planet Run also looked, felt and smelled far less romantic to the runners after
gardener and running coach from Scotland; Heiko Weiner, an inorganic chemistry researcher from East
weeks of constant travel, cramped by months’ worth of gear and provisions. Even the sides of vans were
Germany; Rudy van Prooyen, a chemist and a veteran of the Dutch Special Forces; and Laurel Dudley an Blue Planet Run 227
TOP ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT: Zhangbei, China Marin, CA
Mark Leong, Redux Pictures / Port Huron, MI
Catherine Karnow / Port Huron, MI
Chris Emerick / Irkutsk, Russia
Chris Emerick / Pittsburg, CA
Catherine Karnow BOTTOM ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT: Chicago, IL
ecotourism guide from Hawaii. They met for the first time at the training camp in Lake Placid just one
“It’s about the four of us making it back to New York together and going the distance,” was Rogan’s
week before the run started in New York.
explanation for why he took pride in running the extra miles for his team that day. Weiner later
While working their way across the Mongolian steppe in the afternoon heat, the Blue Team was on the verge of collapse. Van Prooyen was suffering from a groin injury from bouncing around in the van on the
what you’re doing is important enough.”
rough Siberian roads. And the meniscus ligament Weiner had torn in his right knee while running the
For every one of the runners, there was that single moment when the purpose of the Blue Planet Run —
Boston Marathon was flaring up again.
and their own commitment to it — became transcendently clear.
Dudley took the team’s first handoff and ran an extra two miles, hoping to relieve pressure from her
For Emmanuel Kibet, a professional marathoner from central Kenya, that moment came on the shores
ailing teammates. “I’ve worked on a lot of volunteer projects and leadership programs before, but nothing
of Lake Baikal, the oldest, deepest and largest body of fresh water on the planet. Kibet was one of seven
comes close to the intensity of this one,” she explained while stopping only a few seconds to hydrate.
children growing up in a family whose water source was a nearby well that often served up only muddy
Weiner struggled to complete one of his most difficult 10-mile legs. But the ailing van Prooyen had to be coaxed back into the van by Dr. Pershing after gamely completing eight of his 10 miles. 228 Blue Planet Run
commented, after jumping out of the van to run with Rogan for the last few miles, “It’s never that bad if
water. Perhaps this was one of the reasons he stunned his teammates by suddenly leaping into the remarkably clear, frigid lake.
Blue Planet Run 229
TOP ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT: Paris, France
Nicholas Tavernier / Moscow, Russia
Chris Emerick / Osra, Belarus
Chris Emerick / St. Louis, MO
For Richard Johnson, his favorite memory was Day 37, July Fourth, when tens of thousands of music
But even veteran runners reached moments when almost the only thing keeping them going was their
fans were attending Live Earth concerts. Johnson, an accomplished musician who has played with Herbie
role as messengers about a growing world crisis. Vermont lawyer and ultramarathoner Dot Helling had
Hancock and Wynton Marsalis, found himself running through Omsk, Russia — dreaming of being at a
such a moment on a long uphill climb in Siberia, escorted by a police car driven by a local officer. “It just
concert, but soldiering on.
makes me even more determined,” she said through gritted teeth from an agonizing side-ache, “to get the
Mary Chernak, a chemist and project manager at Dow Chemical, and admittedly only a recreational runner, was constantly grateful just to be on the run. “I’m the last person who should be here with all these phenomenal runners and extraordinary people, not
230 Blue Planet Run
message out about how bad and solvable the water crisis is if only more people knew about it.” For Victor Lara Ricco, what kept him going was the memory of the time he carried armloads of water bottles and delivered them to a remote Guatemalan village during a previous water crisis.
to mention being here in the middle of Mongolia.” she whispered in amazement while watching the sun
For husband and wife team Brinn and Sean Harrington of California, it was the recognition that many
rise after completing a night run. “This is my Olympic Games and my one shot to be on the world stage
others around the world were experiencing far worse that kept them motivated at the most trying
to do something extraordinary. When else am I ever going to be able to put my professional and married
moments. “Whenever I feel like I’m struggling or I’ve had enough of this,” said Brinn, “I think of somebody
life on hold for three months to focus on something so important to so many other peoples’ lives?”
having to haul their water 10 miles a day.” Blue Planet Run 231
ď “ Supporters, journalists, friends and family welcome the Blue Planet Run team as they cross the finish line at precisely 12 noon on September 4, 2007 at the South Street Seaport in lower Manhattan.â€‚
TOP ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT: Niagara Falls, Canada New York City, NY
Chris Emerick / Chicago, IL
Rick Smolan / New York City, NY
Alex Garcia / New York City, NY
Rick Smolan / New York City, NY
Rick Smolan / New York City, NY
Rick Smolan / New York City, NY
Melissa Moon, a national champion runner from New Zealand, put her racing career on hold for the
Equally indelible in all the runners’ minds was the glorious final stretch — Day 95, September 4, 2007 —
run. “I first heard about it while I was competing in Nigeria — where, as a professional athlete, I felt very
when they crossed the finish line in front of a cheering crowd at lower Manhattan’s South Street Seaport.
privileged and selfish. I was preoccupied with getting enough clean water for my training while many of the
Surrounded by friends, family and well-wishers, the 22 runners assembled on stage and basked in the first
people living there were looking for enough clean water just to survive.”
moment in more than three months in which they were all standing still. Each took their turn receiving a
The three-month commitment to make a difference in other peoples’ lives took on an extra “life-changing” dimension for Canadian Jason Louttit and Taeko Terauchi from Japan. Accomplished runners in their respective countries but utter strangers at the start of the race, the two began dating in Prague on Day 17, with a little matchmaking help from Brazilian teammate Laura Furtado. On Day 34, while making the continental transition from Europe to Asia, they announced their engagement. When the run passed through Japan on Day 61, they received Terauchi’s parents’ permission to marry, which they did in Blue Planet Run style: running past Niagara Falls on Day 89. 234 Blue Planet Run
water drop-shaped award from mentor and father figure Zidell. After thanking the runners one last time, Zidell told the crowd that the impressive dedication and commitment of these extraordinary men and women demonstrated what human beings can do when they let their better natures take over. Then he smiled and announced that the second Blue Planet Run was already scheduled for 2009. The message — Water is Life — has been delivered to the world. Now it is our turn to act. — M i ke cerre
Blue Planet Run 235
236 Blue Planet Run
Blue Planet Run 237
Acknowledgements This book was produced and directed by Against All Odds Productions PROJECT STAFF Rick Smolan
ASSIGNMENT RESEARCH Mike Cerre
LEGAL COUNSEL Nate Garhart
Special Thanks Monica Almeda
Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass, LLP
Marco Di Martino
Matthew Reed Bruemmer
Robert A. Grove
Chief Operating Officer
CREATIVE DIRECTOR Michael Rylander INFOGRAPHIC DESIGN Nigel Holmes ESSAY WRITERS Robert Redford Actor and Environmentalist
Fred Pearce “When the Rivers Run Dry”
Diane Ackerman “A Natural History of the Senses”
Bill McKibben “The End of Nature”
Jeffrey Rothfeder “Every Drop for Sale”
John Curley Contributing Editor
Emmy Award-Winning Broadcast Journalist
PHOTOGRAPHY Mike Davis Photography Director
Deborah Pang Davis
ACCOUNTING & FINANCE Robert Powers calegari & Morris Certified Public Accountants’
Erik Erwitt Misha Erwitt Sasha Erwitt
James and Zem Joaquin
Robert Palmer CMO
David Overmyer Annette Fay
Doug and Tereza Menuez
Dean and Ann Ornish
Natasha and Jeff Pruss
Phillip Moffitt Earth Balance Institute
Earth Balance Institute
Circle of Blue
Cabell Brand Center for International Poverty & Resource Studies
Photo editor, Newsweek
Violet O’Hara Sponsors The Blue Planet Run Foundation www.BluePlanetRun.org
Photo editor, time
Daphne Kis Business advisor Barry Reder
Data Recovery by Drivesavers www.drivesavers.com
makers of PhotoMechanic www.camerabits.com
Mitch Stein Jill Youse Vanessa Shipp Will Harlan Bryce Avallone Irina Balytsky Youth Board Chris Koch Coordinator
Kara Swisher All Things Digital
Dennis Walker CameraBits
Sabine Kunz Kelly Hartzell Anna Sergeeva Allie Johnson Daniel Haarburger
Anne Wojcicki Passport Capital
Chytanya Kompala Erin Silk
The Understanding Business
Will Bruder and Ben Nesbeitt
Lucienne and Richard Matthews
SENIOR ADVISoRS Marvin Smolan
(FTL Studio) Inflatable Arch and Stage Design
JUNIOR ADVISoRS Phoebe Smolan
Sam and Kate Holmes Adobe
Creative Direction and Copywriting
Kaplow Communications, Inc Liz Kaplow
(Will Bruder + Partners) Inflatable Arch and Stage Design
Blumberg & Associates bookkeeper
Founder and Chairman
238 Blue Planet Run
Blue Planet Run Foundation Jin Zidell
Former Editor-in-Chief, Discover Magazine
and Mortensen Design, Graphic Design and Identity
The Lester Family
Photography Director Photography Liaison
The Durham Family
Gene and Gayle Driskell
“The Last Drop” (The New Yorker)
David E. Cohen
Foundation Extended Family Polly Green and Chris Emerick, Flair Films
calegari & Morris Certified Public Accountants’
DESIGN PRODUCTION Diane Dempsey Murray
OFFICE ADMINISTRATION Ally Merkley Nancy Merkley
EDITORIAL AND CAPTIONS Michael Malone
Topher White Brett Wilkison
the carol mann agency
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Blue Planet Run 239
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