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More than two billion people around the world, including many indigenous peoples, live without safe water at home

Children at the 2018 Curve Lake Summer Day Camp, while participating in the GreenUP Wonders of Water Program, created this poster featuring their love notes to water. The theme of World Water Day 2019 on Friday, March 22nd is "Leaving no one behind": whoever you are, wherever you are, water is your human right. More than two billion people live without safe water at home, and those of us who have easy access to potable water should take the time on Friday to show our gratitude. 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. (Photo: Karen O’Krafka) This Friday (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.

Each week, GreenUP provides a story related to the environment. This week’s story is by Heather Ray, GreenUP Water Programs Manager.

The theme for World Water Day 2019 is “Leaving no one behind”.

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

“Not only is clean water seen as sacred to indigenous cultures but 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 are bringing awareness to the messages behind World Water Day by hosting a contest. The #PtboStudents4water4all contest encourages teachers and students to show their gratitude for Nibi (the Anishinaabemowin word for water) by tweeting a photo or video of how they say thank you to water.

How you say thank you to water is really up to you, but here are some ideas that GreenUP has encouraged at the Peterborough Children’s Water Festival and in WOW programs: 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. (Photo: Karen O’Krafka) 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.

“It is especially important to us to raise awareness about the fundamental sacredness of water for all,” Laurin says. “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.”

Last year, the WOW program, along with Nourish, attended the Peterborough Children’s Water Festival to ask students about their relationship with water. At the festival each year, students interact with water and learn with amazement, but each year we see that we all have more to learn and appreciate about our connection with water. Many of us, including myself, are often not aware of our daily interactions with water, from our morning shower […]

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