Water Is Life

Hi Everyone,

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??

Hydros – God of Water

We started off looking at some facts around water usage and some of us were surprised by some of the numbersImage result for water usage chart for agriculture, industry and domestic in USA

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  Image result for average american water usage chart in gallonsSo, 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 Image result for flint michigan watertimes, 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.

Earth Day

Hi Everyone,   Today, April 22nd, we take time to celebrate and honor our Earth! There are lots of activities taking place all over Boston and all over the world today to show how we need to protect and preserve our natural resources, before it’s too late. We started today’s class with a discussion about the history of Earth Day, and read this article Celebrate Earth . We talked about what other countries are doing to address environmental issues like air and water pollution, climate change, melting polar ice caps, and a general waste of non-renewable resources. This year’s theme is about planting trees and restoring our air and earth. In honor of this we all got a small paper Earth which contains flower seeds that you can plant.  Here are the instructions on how to grow the seeds: First, soak the Earth in water overnight. Then break it into small pieces and plant it in a small pot (or cup) of dirt. Water it daily and give it some sunshine and in 1-3 weeks you will have some pretty wildflowers! (Don’t forget to add some love, too.)
Hope you enjoy celebrating Earth Day by planting your own flowers!

 

As we talk about environmental and other issues we often use verbs like should, must and have to. For example, We should protect the environment. It makes good sense. We must protect our environment or our resources will disappear. You have to use other forms of transportation occasionally. Here’s a table to show the different uses of these verbs: We also did this practice of should, must, and have to, just click here to review it again. 

So, we continued our discussion about Earth Day and focused on non-human life forms on Earth – plants and animals. We don’t always think about plants and animals when we think about air and water pollution and climate change and deforestation, but, these creatures and living species are also deeply affected. Each year certain animal and plant species are listed as extinct, and also each year there are discoveries of new plant and animal species.  We looked at some of these new discoveries and then watched this film which looks at the theme of preserving what we have on Earth in order to discover more. The film shows us some very unusual species that have recently been discovered.  

Hopefully, we will honor and cherish Earth every day, not just today. We agreed that the environmental issues are real and significant, but, together we can all help.

Words of the day

adrift (adjective) : of a boat: floating on the water without being tied to anything : without guidance, purpose, or support                                                                                She was alone and adrift when she arrived in Boston by herself for the first time last year.

akimbo (adjective) : of the arms : with hands on the hips and the elbows turned outward                                                                                                                                      He was trying to get everyone’s attention and stood at the head of the class with arms akimbo.

ponytail (noun) : a way of arranging hair by gathering it together at the back of the head and letting it hang down freely                                                                                       Her hair is so long that she usually wears her hair pulled back in a ponytail.

Remember to relax and practice!

For Earth Day and everyday, let’s never forget the 3Rs.