Nearly 70% of our human bodies and the surface of our earth are made up of water. While it’s a vital part of our lives, 1 billion people worldwide go without access to clean, safe drinking water every day.
In the United States, it’s easy to take this precious resource for granted – almost all of us can turn on the faucet and find water readily available. And yet, the bottled water industry is booming, selling about 40 billion gallons each year.
Today is World Water Day – an opportunity to start a conversation about water conservation with the young people in your life. As we learn how to consume and save water responsibly, we can also learn how people in developing countries are suffering due to a lack of safe water. More importantly, we can learn how to help, and inspire our children to get involved as well.
As you sit around the dinner table tonight, or engage your students in the classroom tomorrow, consider sparking a conversation about World Water Day. The discussion can touch upon several academic subjects including:
- Geography (which countries suffer from a lack of safe water?)
- History (how has water use and conservation changed over the years and how has it impacted human health and civilizations?)
- Science (how is water sanitized? What are some of the water-related diseases that pose a threat to human safety?)
- Math and Economics (according to the non-profit organization Charity: Water, “every $1 invested in improved water access and sanitation yields an average of $12 in economic returns” – in short, how can a financial investment in sanitation programs today impact our global economy tomorrow?)
Here are some facts and resources you can use to start a conversation about water in your family or classroom:
- Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of diseases and kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war.1
- The ancient Romans had better water quality than half the people alive today.2
- Women spend thousands of hours each year collecting and carrying water. 2
- Half of the world’s hospitalizations are due to water-related disease. 2
- 90% of the 42,000 deaths that occur every week from unsafe water and unhygienic living conditions are to children under five years old (and many of these diseases are preventable).1
Visit http://www.charitywater.org/ to learn more, and http://water.org/ to download informative and educational lesson plans for students of all ages.
1 Charity: Water
Wendy Wegner is editor of educational content for 1 On 1 Academic Tutors in Los Angeles. Visit her on the Web at www.wendywegner.com.
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