World Water Day 2020

March 20th, 2020

By Heather Ray, GreenUP Water Programs Manager

March 22 is World Water Day, a day aimed at advancing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 6: ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

Many people around the world, and in Canada, especially those in First Nation communities, do not have access to safe, clean drinking water.

“Not only is clean water seen as sacred to Indigenous cultures but, by Western science standards, water must be kept to a certain standard to be safe to drink, a level of purity which is currently not being maintained in many rural and first Nation communities across the country,” says Madison Laurin, Operations Coordinator at The Trent Aboriginal Cultural Knowledge and Science (TRACKS) program.

TRACKS and the GreenUP Wonders of Water (WOW) program have been working together to bring awareness to the messages behind World Water Day. In 2019, we hosted the #PtboStudents4water4all contest. Teachers and students showed their gratitude for Nibi (the word for water in Anishinaabemowin) by tweeting a photo or video of how they say thank you to water.

In 2020 we went on a tour of the Jackson Creek sub-watershed with a group of local students who are leading a project to improve water protection in their own schoolyard. Read all about it here. 

As part of the GreenUP Wonders of Water program, Agnieszka, a grade five student at Monsignor O’Donoghue in Peterborough presents her favourite water memory with her class and shares why she’s grateful for water.

How you say thank you to water is really up to you. But as we all work to do what we can to flatten the curve of COVID-19, it is essential we appreciate our access to water. Following are some resources and recommendations to help you conserve water each day.

Only flush the 3 P’s down the toilet: pee, poop, and *toilet* paper. Flushing anything else down the toilet can lead to a sewer blockage that may force you to evacuate your home.

Proper hand washing is essential to reducing the spread of COVID-19. Please watch this video and make sure you are effectively cleaning your hands:

We all need to do our part to fight COVID-19, and part of that is ensuring we use our water sustainably. Read more about how you can help conserve water in this emergency:

Here are some ideas that we have encouraged at the Peterborough Children’s Water Festival and in WOW programs:

  • Take a walk outside and notice the different forms of water
  • Draw/write how you’re grateful for water
  • Say Miigwetch (thank you) to the water 4 times
  • Measure how much water you use in one day
  • Use a reusable water bottle over a disposable one
  • Learn about the critters that live in the water close to you
  • Write a short story about a body of water that means a lot to you
  • Listen to and learn Doreen Day’s Water Song on the Mother Earth Water Walk Website
  • Read inspiring stories like The Water Walker by Joanne Robertson and answer the question: “What will you do for the Water?”

Why show gratitude for Nibi? We all connect with water multiple times a day, but it is usually when we are without water that we appreciate it the most. Indigenous peoples all over the world have said that Nibi is the lifeblood of Mother Earth, which is needed to sustain not only us, but also all life. By saying Miigwetch (thank you) to water, you are helping to connect with and protect water for all.

Children at the 2018 Curve Lake Summer Day Camp created a poster featuring their love notes to water, while participating in the GreenUP Wonders of Water Program.

“It is especially important to us to raise awareness about the fundamental sacredness of water for all,” shares Laurin, “We are aiming to educate young people about the importance of both Indigenous and Western sciences to be able to address increasingly complex environmental issues that will face our world in the future.”

Have you ever said thank you to water? On World Water Day, and every day, you can connect with, and help protect water for all by showing your gratitude for water.

The sky is the limit when it comes to sharing your gratitude to water in your own way. This World Water Day, take notice of what water does for you each day. Let’s ensure no one is left behind, by protecting both water and people’s right to access safe drinking water.

Laurin reminds us, “By combining Indigenous and Western ways of understanding the water, we can ensure that no one is left behind”.

To learn out more about World Water Day visit www.worldwaterday.org.

You can download the Nibi Giinwiindawan (We Are Water) curriculum from Nourish at nourishproject.ca

The GreenUP WOW program brings the magic and wonder of the Peterborough Children’s Water Program into the classroom and community. To find out more about WOW please visit www.greenup.on.ca/wow.

Posted in Uncategorized, water

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