I’ve been insanely busy over the last month, working on an exciting project that has taken precedence over any of my other writing projects.
A couple of years ago on Chicago’s local NPR affiliate, I heard an interview with a woman who had developed something called The Drinkable Book. The pages of the book are antimicrobial filters that convert water contaminated with feces and other ickiness to clean, safe, drinkable water. Each page can filter enough water for one person for a month! Extremely cool idea, right?
The Drinkable Book made an impression on me, but I mostly forgot about it until one day last summer when I was talking to my younger brother, an engineer in Pittsburgh. He told me that his buddy was working with the inventor of these really cool paper water filters called pAge Drinking Papers.
Oh right, I said, I think I heard about this on the radio. My brother did a lot of work on paper manufacture for his PhD, so he got roped into helping his two friends make the papers more efficiently.
And now I’ve been roped into doing communications and a few other things for their newly-formed company, Folia Water. Folia Water is tackling product development and scaling up production so that these revolutionary water filters can get out into the hands of people around the world who do not have access to clean water or sanitation*.
This work hits a lot of high notes for me. It answers my need to work for a more just distribution of resources and I’m working with people who share that passion. I’m learning a ton and stretching my skills in new ways. And the cherry on top is that I get to call and talk to my brother for work!
The first Onion headline ever I saw read, “Business call accidentally ended with ‘I love you.'” Which of course cracked me up (almost as much as the one next to it, “Casual Friday policy hastily rewritten to exclude unitards”). But now I actually do end some of my business calls that way, and it’s awesome.
*No, these filters do not remove lead contamination in water. We’re watching the public health catastrophe happening in Flint, MI with heavy hearts along with the rest of the country and world.