They are fighting for the 2.2 billion people around the world who don’t have access to clean water
The theme of World Water Day 2021, celebrated on March 22, is valuing water. All over the world school kids are participating in World Water Day activities, learning about how much water they really use and how important easy access to clean water is.
Admittedly, my initial response to these awareness goals was, yeah, I know how privileged I am. I’ve seen the images of kids in Africa trying to fill plastic jugs from filthy little puddles. But, after I participated in some of the activities, I felt surprised how shallow my pool of knowledge was. Keeping a water diary, for example, of how many times I fill not just my reusable water bottle, but my sink to rinse dishes; how much water it really takes to boil spaghetti, take showers, run the dishwasher and laundry machine three times a week, flush the toilet a dozen times a day, and wash our hands afterwards. Honestly, it made turning on the tap seem like a marvelous luxury.
The other eye-opener was limiting for one day where I can access fresh water. I chose my tub (and I cheated by flushing my toilet). I was astounded how much I missed my sinks! Washing dishes in the tub was a sop-fest–not to mention a strain on my lower back–although it was sort of fun soaping up all the dishes and then turning on the shower to rinse them. I missed ordering water for my lunch, and instead of turning on the hose to nurture the spinach and peas I just sowed, I hauled a watering can through the house. It’s really wonderful to have fresh, clean water not just when I want it, I realized, but where.
The United Nations developed World Water Day to support clean, fresh drinking water for all humans by 2030, and to raise awareness that freshwater resources need to be sustainably managed. On March 22 water conservation professionals from Canada, Europe, Central America and Africa will gather to speak to the importance of clean water. His Holiness Pope Francis will be there. And so will Henk Ovink–in case you were wondering what the two have in common. He’s the Netherlands Special Envoy of International Water Affairs, and a guy with a super cool name. (Can you say it five times fast?)
In addition to inspirational speeches, the Stockholm Water Prize will go to the scientist who develops the most clever clean water project of the year. A peek at the winner’s list from years past is nothing short of inspiring. Last year, Dr. John Cherry won for exposing how groundwater is far more easily contaminated than we knew. His work has led to innovations to keep groundwater clean and protected. It’s behind-the-scenes-super hero work, keeping countless people safe while we hardly know it.
Sadly, even though World Water Day is a worldwide celebration, the United States and China do not have speakers booked for the summit–a glaring absence. Wondering why I hit the internet, finding only a brief article from 2018 of Chinese students holding up their World Water Day art projects, and nothing at all for the United States. If you find an American celebration, please post it below!
Meanwhile, I’m taking a page from Dr. John Cherry’s work and letting my secret super hero come out in my own every day, hidden ways. Using water-safe and zero-waste products, and valuing my water not only when I need it, but where. (I love you, kitchen sink!)
How are you celebrating World Water Day? What does clean, fresh water mean to you? Share your with us in the comments.
Be a World Water Day hero. Buy any gallon water-safe Pro-Tek cleaner and get a FREE water-saving Roadrunner shower start. Hurry! Offer ends midnight on World Water Day, March 22.