MAR 22, 2018 08:25 AM PDT

World Water Day is Here: what are you doing?

World Water Day 2018 has arrived in full regale, celebrating 25 years of existence. This year, the theme is The Answer is in Nature, and the UN, which designated March 22 as the day for raising awareness about the world water crisis back in 1993, is looking to scientists and citizens alike for nature-based solutions.

Nature-based solutions encompass a whole realm of strategies, from planting trees for re-forestation to reconnecting rivers with floodplains to restoring wetlands. The idea is that these solutions take inherent knowledge from the natural world in order to help us mitigate our anthropogenic impacts on all aspects of the environment, focusing particularly on water and hydrologic cycles globally.

These people in Darfur, Sudan only have access to fresh water for 2 hours of the day. Photo: UN/Albert Gonzalez Farran

The world water crisis refers to the current public health and environmental health situations in which we find ourselves in the 21st century. Around the world, freshwater accounts for only 2.5% of all water, and roughly 1 in every 3 people don’t have access to basic sanitation that requires clean water. Every year, 1.8 billion people drink contaminated water, so it’s no surprise that waterborne diseases are a leading cause of mortality, particularly for children.

But it’s not only human health that’s under threat, and in fact, most of the environmental aspect of the crisis is a direct result of our actions. Pollution, resource extraction, increasing food and energy production, infrastructure, natural disasters, and climate change all lead to poor water quality and limited water resources. Biodiversity, in turn, is affected and decreases in diversity create cyclical loops of degradation and un-sustainability.

So, what can you do today, to play your part in advocating for clean and abundant water around the world? Know your footprint – not just your carbon footprint, but your water footprint. How much water did it take to extract the natural gas that heats your house? How much to farm that cow that your hamburger is made out of? How much water to produce those new shoes you just bought? Eat less meat, buy second-hand, support organizations that manage clean water in poor regions of the world, refuse to buy foods that have been grown with pesticides and fertilizers. Join a movement, here, today, to raise awareness about the water crisis.

In other exciting climate-progressive news, today also marks the day when the President of the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, launches the International Decade for Action: Water for Sustainable Development 2018-2028. The goal of this initiative is to encourage and facilitate cooperation, partnership, and capacity development so that as a planet we can achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Sources: UN Environment (1), (2)

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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