Did you know that around 700 million people in 43 countries suffer from water scarcity today? This alarming statistic is one of many that indicates the seriousness of the global water crisis planet earth is currently facing. One factor that contributes to the freshwater shortage is human consumption for personal uses such as cooking, cleaning, landscaping, and unnecessary waste due to leaks and fixture inefficiencies. In America, the average household of four uses 400 gallons of water each day, significantly more than is typically used in any other country. This month, GEF and American Standard have launched the Sustainable Water Challenge, a free program for K-12 students that educates them on current issues in water sustainability and the steps we need to take to help conserve Earth’s most precious resource.
The program’s resources are available year round, but schools and groups are encouraged to select the Sustainable Water Challenge as their sustainability theme for National Green Week 2013! National Green Week kicks off February 4-8 but you can choose any week between then and the end of Earth Month (April) to participate by completing sustainability focused lessons, activities, or events. Not to mention, the Sustainable Water Challenge provides some fantastic ideas for a curriculum and activities section of the program to find free water-related, standards-based lessons, such as the "Efficient Water Technologies" lesson. In this lesson, high school students explore their homes and school using an interactive animation to determine where the most water is used and how they can change their behaviors to use less water.
Schools, classrooms and youth groups are also encouraged to enter a Sustainable Water Challenge contest. By completing a water audit and submitting a chronicle of the findings (audit worksheet, summary, results, photos, or video) by May 30, you'll be entered in a raffle! Prizes include reusable water bottles for the winning students and GEF Institute's Water and Sustainability online course for the teacher or group leader.
In the face of a growing global water crisis, now is the time to educate youth about our most valuable resource, one that tends to be taken for granted in the U.S. Let’s inform students and empower them to make small changes to their behaviors that can have an enormous collective impact on protecting and conserving water.
There's plenty more to explore so check it out today! To participate in the Sustainable Water Challenge, simply create a free GEF membership account and select the Water Challenge as a program of interest.