Hiking for the global water crisis

According to Denver-based non-profit Water for People, 884 million people worldwide lack access to clean drinking water, and 6000 people die every day from water-borne illness. That’s a bit overwhelming, but a father-son team from Independence, Missouri has decided to do something about this crisis… by hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Steven Spydell and son Matt began their journey along the 2178-mile trail on April 5th, and are using their hike to raise funds for Water for People. They’ve set a goal of $10,000, but will likely surpass that: a graphic on their Hiking for Water website shows over $9400 dollars raised already… and they’re only into Virginia at this point.

So, why are the Spydells doing this? Both are avid hikers (and involved in the Boy Scouts), and Steven had become aware of Water for People through his membership in (and one-time presidency of) the Missouri Water Environment Association. The connection became readily apparent for them: on their progress blog, they note: “Hiking is what we love to do. We also love the water that provides us sustenance to be able to do it. Unfortunately, the tap water that we take for granted is not readily accessible for many people.”

Both have also made some big life changes in order to make the hike: Matt worked to graduate from high school six months early, and Steven’s taken a leave of absence from his job with the Independence Water Pollution Control Department.

You can support Matt and Steven’s hike by making a pledge (either a set amount, or a “per-mile” commitment), giving some love to their Facebook “Like” page, follow their Twitter feed, or simply sharing their story… it’s definitely an inspiring one!


Image: Matt and Steven Spydell Credit: Hiking for Water Facebook page