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Weekly Challenge # 25 – Water Your Thoughts

March 16, 2014

 

World Water Day is coming up on March 22nd.

This is a day around the world first recognized by the United Nations in 1993. Water is obviously something we all must have to survive. It is one of the key ingredients that makes Earth a viable place for flora and fauna alike.

For many students in many countries water is taken for granted. It is something that comes from the tap or is bought in plastic bottles at the store and little thought is given to it beyond the curriculum pieces on states of matter or the water cycle.

One of the epiphany moments for my own children is when they began to come with me on interior canoe trips. The definition of potable water became clear as we had to boil our water to drink it. Around the campfire this brought up discussions with them about children around the world carrying their water from great distances (which my own kids could relate to due to portages on our excursions). From here we discussed how much water we “wasted” at home ourselves which I must admit took some discussion for it is hard for any child to understand it takes 42 gallons of water to make a slice of pizza for instance or 1,800 gallons to make a pair of jeans.

So instead, we focused on what they could comprehend.  We committed to a little experiment once we returned home to see how much water we used in daily activities. We discussed first where they thought we wasted the most water. My girls (on this trip it was my 12 year old girls and my 7 year old girl) came up with the following:

1. Brushing our teeth

2. Dishes, (both washing and rinsing)

3. Watering the lawn/garden

4. Running the tap until the water was cold enough for a drink

5.  Running the tap until the water was hot enough to wash

All good examples. After we dismissed the 7 years old’s environmentally friendly idea of not washing or brushing our teeth anymore we decided to measure how much water we used on some of these activities when we got back home.

We figured out some pretty interesting things such the bathroom tap at our house ran at about 3 gallons (about 11 litres) a minute – which again they could relate to by looking at our milk containers. As one of them will brush in about 3 minutes – each one of them figured, if they leave the tap running they are using 9 gallons or 33 litres of water.

In my mind, from an environmental education perspective while this opens one’s eyes, the is an obvious next step to this.

What can we do to make our impact less? 

In the end, my wonderful gals decided when they brush their teeth to ensure they turn the water off when not needed. They also rinse from a mug of water.

So this week, our #EnviroEd challenge is around our water consumption. There are some great links for you to use like this Water Footprint Calculator from National Geographic. Experiment with your class, discuss their water usage, how they can reduce it and the value of water around the world.

 

 

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