Monday, March 21, 2011

Celebrate World Water Day!

Tuesday, March 22 is World Water Day.  What are you doing to raise awareness and help solve the world's increasing water problems?  There are many small things that we all can do to conserve water, and there are big things as well!  Here are several events that are taking place in the name of water.

This is one of the BIG events that can change water access for the world.  Kudos to the Senators that are leading the charge to pass the Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2011.

WASHINGTON DC, (March 18, 2011) — Legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate yesterday by Assistant Senate Majority Leader Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) would put the United States in the lead of responding to the worldwide safe drinking water and sanitation crisis. The Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2011 would commit the United States to extending safe, affordable and sustainable supplies of drinking water and sanitation to 100 million people within six years. This major bipartisan initiative would put the United States at the forefront of addressing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for drinking water and sanitation.

The WASH Advocacy Initiative commends Senators Durbin and Corker for their leadership on this important issue, and thanks the five other senators who have signed onto the bill as original cosponsors: Harry Reid (D-NV), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT).
“We applaud the leadership of Senator Durbin, Senator Corker, and their colleagues in working to provide 100 million people in developing countries with sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation,” said Gary White, Chairman of the WASH Advocacy Initiative. “This is one of the most effective – and one of the most efficient – actions the United States can take to improve health and alleviate poverty worldwide.” Each dollar invested in safe drinking water and sanitation provides an eight dollar (8:1) return on that investment in reduced healthcare costs and time savings.

Patti Simon, wife of the late Senator Paul Simon, said “We shouldn’t forget that the global water and sanitation challenge is solvable – we know the solutions today. This new legislation will help make those solutions a reality. Paul would be proud to see this bill being introduced to address an issue that was a priority for him in Congress, and pleased that leaders like Senator Durbin and Senator Corker are taking the challenge seriously."

“Access to safe drinking water is a right that everyone in the world ought to enjoy but too few are able to realize,” Assistant Senate Majority Leader Durbin said. “Water access is no longer simply a global health and development issue; it is a mortal and long-term threat that is increasingly becoming a national security issue. The United States needs to do much more to ensure that global water access is protected and expanded.”

“As a fiscal conservative, I realize the urgent need to dramatically reduce federal spending and be more efficient with our resources – especially as it relates to our limited foreign aid budget. That means better focusing, targeting and coordinating our efforts to achieve results without authorizing more funding, which is exactly what the Water for the World Act does,” Senator Corker said. “A lack of clean water leads to the deaths of 1.8 million people a year – 90 percent of them children. It stifles economic growth, keeps women and girls from going to work and school, and contributes to political unrest that threatens our national security. For many reasons, I believe water is one of the wisest places we can focus our foreign aid.”

Almost one billion people currently lack access to safe water, and 2.6 billion people lack a way to dispose of their human waste safely. More than two dozen resulting diseases – including cholera – trigger the world’s most serious, and most solvable, public health problems. These diseases kill more children than AIDS, malaria and TB combined. Development experts point out that safe water and sanitation contribute markedly both to global health initiatives and to efforts to keep children in school, alleviate poverty, and empower women. Women and children, as the primary water-haulers across the developing world, bear the brunt of this crisis.

Another event: New focus and commitments for water this year!

3 H2O for Life Schools, Quaker Valley Middle School, PA, Abington High School, PA and HB Woodlawn, VA will attend the event as representatives of H2O for Life.  The students will be part of a high level event that will focus on bringing funds to the forefront of the water crisis.

Location: World Bank Atrium, Washington DC

Event: Water for the World, featuring high level leadership from the US State Department and the World Bank, and commitments from the philanthropic and corporate sectors to help solve global water challenges. The event will feature the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the US Government and the World Bank.

Small but important events:

We hope that all teachers, and especially teachers partnered with H2O for Life this year, will take a few moments to remind your students about the global water crisis, and the role that we all must play to be part of the solution! for ideas for your classroom, visit our website to find:
  • World Water Day Curricular Connections.
  •  View a video with your class.
  •  Find ideas to challenge your students to make a difference through small actions.     
Today, I visited Irondale High School.  The student service club held a "speed volunteering" activity.  They assembled hundreds of "Rainmaker" bracelet kits for H2O for Life.  These kits will be available for schools and youth groups around the world. The purpose of the bracelet:
  • Buy a kit, and proceeds support a WASH in Schools project
  • Become a Rainmaker- tell others about the water crisis
  • Wear the bracelet in support of H2O for Life and the work we do (schools, students, and H2O for Life) to "be the change!" 

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