It could have been a key fob or even a set of gourmet mustard, the sweet tangy kind or perhaps spicy horseradish. I had just finished my speech to the Aspen Rotary following a luncheon on top of Aspen Mountain as deep teal thunderclouds wove around distant peaks. In the closing moments of the meeting, the club’s president-elect, Tom Bracewell, presented me with a certificate indicating that the club would make a donation to immunize 20 children against polio. In a millisecond, I found my imagination racing across the world to a dusty scene of young children standing in line with nurses holding their outstretched arms — they’d be getting prophylactic tattoos of sorts, protection against the hideous disease that’s often transmitted by dirty water and poor sanitation. Polio is almost history in much of the world due to Rotary’s worldwide vaccination programs. And soon, I hope, there will be 20 more children who need no longer live in fear of another waterborne virus.
J. Carl Ganter is co-founder and director of Circle of Blue, the internationally recognized center for original frontline reporting, research, and analysis on resource issues with a focus on the intersection between water, food, and energy.