Today’s topic was water – what does water mean to us? How do we use it? How often? How do things like pollution, human consumption, and climate change affect water? What about global access to water? Does anyone even care??
We started off looking at some facts around water usage and some of us were surprised by some of the numbers
The farming and agricultural sector uses the largest percentage of water in the US.
Industry uses about 27% and we use about 8% of the water for use inside and outside the home.
With domestic use at 8%, it was interesting to see where this is being used. Although the statistics vary a lot this is a fairly good view of average daily consumption of water So, we use lots of water, but many factors in the last 20 years or so have made us a lot more aware of water, our scarce and precious resource. We are more aware of the overuse of water, pollution, and climate change. Today, we consider this water supply to be in jeopardy, and water and its future is a major political, environmental, social and global issue.
We talked about our own personal experiences with water crises , including availability of safe drinking water to issues many countries face with flooding and runoff making rivers into mud. The solutions are complex and often have serious environmental and human consequences.
In sunny California, they have been suffering from drought for the past 15 years. This has affected everyone, and changes to human consumption have been enforced. Lots of our food, vegetables, nuts, and fruits come from farms in California. Some of these farms are family owned for generations and the drought has had a severe impact on these communities. One community, Stratford, CA., has been especially badly hit. We watched this film about the effect the drought has had on a farmer, a shop keeper, and a football coach. Watch here:
After watching we discussed the emotional, economic, and social effects the drought has had on Stratford. Will it survive? We hope so.
Next we took a look at the current water crisis in Flint, MI. Flint has been suffering with unsafe drinking water for the last few years, after a decision was made to use water from the Flint River, which it was discovered had high levels of lead. Flint residents have dealt with troubled and difficult economic times, and for many this is almost too much to cope with. People have gotten sick, and are concerned about their children”s health and development.
People in Flint felt like they were being mistreated and just wanted some clean, drinkable water. Listen to this story from last December about how the Flint community is doing, and what still needs to be done here.
We discussed some possible solutions and how to be better conservationists. We all agreed that the crisis is real and happening.
We wrapped up things on an encouraging note, and watched painter Zaria Forman’s presentation on how she brings awareness to the water crisis through her beautiful landscape drawings of glaciers in Greenland. Take a look here:
Water is beautiful, powerful, destructive, and complex.
Water is life.