Matt Damon was among the policy-makers, CEOs, and thought leaders from across the globe who descended on Davos, Switzerland last week for the 2017 World Economic Forum. He attended not as an actor, but as a co-founder of Water.org, an organization dedicated to bringing clean water and sanitation facilities to those without. While in Davos, Damon sat down with CNN’s Richard Quest to share why he thinks President Trump should – and could – recognize that ending the worldwide water crisis is in America’s best interest.
Damon was quick to tell Quest that President Trump was not the candidate he had hoped to see in the Oval Office, stating, “It’s no secret I didn’t vote for him.” But he is “rooting heavily for him” now because “if he does well, we all do well.” And Damon offered good reason to remain optimistic that our involvement in solving the global water crisis could continue under the Trump Administration.
Referencing the President’s business background, Damon pointed out that President Trump is uniquely suited to appreciate that “for every dollar you invest in this sector, you get back four.” Not to mention that when we increase access to clean drinking water and toilets more children stay healthy, more girls can attend school, and more women can earn incomes to support their families. These ripple effects allow economies to grow and poverty to decline, creating new markets for American goods. As America’s first “CEO President” Trump can surely recognize that this return on investment is an incredible deal for the American people.
And as Damon pointed out, expanding access to safe water and sanitation is also the “smart” thing to do when it comes to national security. When we empower people to lift themselves out of poverty and help eliminate the need to fight over this most basic human necessity, we can help stabilize countries. Stable countries typically experience less violence, reducing the need for U.S. intervention and ensuring greater security here at home.
With 663 million people living without access to clean drinking water and 2.6 billion living without a toilet, we can’t afford to wait when it comes to tackling the global crisis Damon called “unconscionable”. But if Matt Damon’s insights into President Trump’s motivations and priorities are any indication of what’s to come, we might not have to.
Photo: Matt Damon, Co-Founder, Water.org, USA speaking at the Annual Meeting 2017 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, January 17, 2017 / Source: World Economic Forum