World Water Day
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Our waters should not be for sale. We all have a right to this water as we need it, not just rich people – all people.” – Autumn Peltier
World Water Day is an annual celebration project that focuses on the importance of freshwater. The mission behind World Water Day is to identify what water means to people by understanding its true value and how we can better protect this vital resource. It is about celebrating water, raising awareness of those living with limited access to it, and taking action on the global water crisis. While substantial progress has been made in increasing access to clean drinking water and sanitation, billions of people – mostly in rural areas – still lack these basic services. Worldwide, one in three people do not have access to safe drinking water, including over 50 Indigenous communities in Canada, two out of five people do not have a basic hand-washing facility with soap and water, and more than 673 million people still practice open defecation. World Water Day is committed to achieving the sustainable development goal of ensuring universal access to clean water and sanitation for all.
World Water Day occurs annually on March 22. It was first observed in 1993 after a United Nations conference on Environment and Development in 1992 declared that protecting water is key to poverty reduction, economic growth, and environmental sustainability. In 2018 World Water Day inspired the United Nations to declare the next ten years as the International Decade for Action on Water for Sustainable Development (2018-2028).
We celebrate World World Water to recognize our responsibility in taking care of the planet and the resources it offers. World Water Day allows us to find the links between water and climate change, including floods and droughts and their relation to pollution and water scarcity. It is important for us to remain cognizant about climate change and the importance of seeing water as a renewable resource. As UNESCO explains, comprehensive water education will provide us with the necessary tools we need to monitor water quality, improve water use by developing greater resources for its reuse, and help to raise awareness among communities so that they play an active part in improving their water management and sanitation.
Now is a great time to consider water in your own community, educating yourself on the damage to our ecosystems caused by water pollutant industries, the lack of government protections on ensuring water accessibility, and the privatization of resources that continue to put water at risk. Especially now considering water is necessary for sanitization. Access to clean water and sanitation is also essential for poverty reduction, economic growth and environmental sustainability. Each day, approximately 1,000 children die due to preventable water and sanitation-related diseases. By celebrating World Water Day we can raise awareness about these illnesses and advocate for universal access to clean water.
Not only does water purify the world around us, it is a necessary component to healthy functioning. We need it in order to regulate circulation, excretion, and cell reproduction throughout our body. In fact, human beings can only survive three days without water, yet a third of our global population is in dire need of clean drinking water. World Water Day is also about reflection and by reflecting on all the different ways water benefits our lives, we can build a foundation of understanding as we become global citizens who value water properly, allowing us to safeguard it effectively for everyone.
Everyone can participate in World Water Day! Water is a very necessary part of our survival and access to clean water is a basic human right. In order to advocate for this basic human right, we need to work together to raise awareness and increase accessibility.
You can celebrate World Water Day everywhere – at home, in school, outside because water is everywhere; all around us, in the air, in the ground, and even in our own bodies.
You can celebrate World Water Day in so many ways. You can start by reflecting on your personal connection to water as a renewal resource. You can take it one step further and think of all the things water is necessary for in your life and throughout the world. You can also celebrate by watching documentaries surrounding water and climate change, writing letters to the federal government urging them to follow through on their promise to end boil-water advisories for many Indegenous communities, and of course by participating in several fun theatrical activities that will help students learn and understand the importance of water and its relation to climate change.
One size does not fit all
How you and your school decide to use the suggested activities, performances, and resources will depend completely on what you and your peers are comfortable with, and the time you have available to designate to the project(s). Trickster is also available to consult with if you would like extra help, resource connections, and/or coordination. You can go big, involving every class with different projects, performances and events throughout the school, or, you can go as small as just doing an activity listed in the materials for your own class which you believe will help them connect to the subject matter.
Due to the circumstances of COVID19, not everything suggested will be possible, and many will need to be adjusted to suit your needs and comfort level. As we hope to carry this forward, and know that schools are looking to future projects much further down the road, we do want to plant the seeds for what those event days might look like too. There will be suggestions throughout on how you can modify activities for social distancing, but you are also able at any point to choose and modify activities and projects to achieve the level of safety your school is comfortable with.
Why Teachers Love It
Our residency was a unifying and motivating experience that we used as a way to begin our year long inquiry about children’s rights.
— Lisa McConnell, Teacher, North Haven School, Calgary