Not On My Watch

I thought I enrolled in college to become a psychologist and help change the world one person at a time.

Instead, I fear my brain is drowning in lead.

It’s on all the news sites. There’s lead and/or toxins in the tap water everywhere, in school water fountains, college campuses, homes, and offices, in rich and poor neighborhoods. No one is safe. (EPA)

Did you know that the people in charge are aware of this, but in somecases they keep it a secret from us? “The harmful effects of lead exposure (in the water) on children’s health are well-documented. They include cognitive deficiencies, increased antisocial behavior, lower educational attainment, and a host of problems affecting the brain, kidneys, and liver.” washingtonpost.com

You cannot unsee this information, and neither can I. It’s time to focus on the responsibility I, and my fellow college students have to make the world better, starting with my own college campus.

I want to make sure the water I’m drinking at the University I’m attending doesn’t cause long term harm to my body and make me or other students sick.

This is a tall order and I cannot do it myself.

According to EcoWatch.com, millions of us are still drinking toxic water, all because our country can’t seem to figure out how to provide us with the most important, basic necessity of life.

Clean water.

When I was looking to see what other college students were already doing to help with the water crisis on their campuses, I found a terrible by-product of obtaining clean water, and here it is:

It’s the excessive use of plastic water bottles which are an environmental nightmare.

We’re still buying plastic water bottles, adding to the one million plastic bottles used per minute, 91% of which are not recycled. (forbes.com)

A typical college student like myself grabs between 4-8 water bottles a day as we navigate college classes and college life. Imagine how that adds up to thousands and thousands of plastic bottles trucked in, and gets added to the environmental waste.

Kudos to the college student activists that are creating grassroots organizations online, and in person, to deal with these issues. They write manuals, message boards, lists of ‘100 ways to use less plastic’, and are dedicated to their ideas.(links at the end*)

I honor and respect them.

Yet, they’re activists. Here’s the definition for activist: someone who campaigns for social change. vocabulary.com

Let’s stop campaigning.

Let’s stop being activists.

Let’s be implementers,

Let’s be enforcers,
Let’s be disrupters.

Who could possibly think we have time to wait? Research indicates that this water crisis is global, and harmful, right this very minute. (un.org)

If you drink water, you’re at risk too.

I began researching solutions, to see what small steps we could begin to take, and came across two important initial findings.

The first was looking at the tech world as a first step in the right direction, at the CES Technology show in Las Vegas this past January.

I figured that with all the technology out there in the world today, there’s got to be some technology available to get clean water on campus fast, without clogging up the oceans and piling up non-decomposable plastic waste.

The second was looking at what the leading international experts were saying.

1) Water. Clean. Right Now. watergenusa.com Water made from air. Winner of Best Innovation Award for Best Technology of the World at the CES Tech Show, Jan 2019.

A company out of Israel and Miami FL that provides clean water units in 3 sizes which generates water from air, no plastics needed, immediate solution.

2) The experts: 19 best solutions to the global freshwater crisis captured by a GlobeScan and SustainAbility poll of more than 1200 leading international experts in 80 countries. circleofblue.org A list of amazing long term solutions.

Here are the experts long term solutions as listed on their site:

1. Educate to change consumption and lifestyles
2. Invent new water conservation technologies
3. Recycle wastewater
4. Improve irrigation
5. Appropriately price water
6. Develop energy efficient desalination plants
7. Improve water catchment and harvesting
8. Look to community-based governance and partnerships
9. Develop and enact better policies and regulations
10. Holistically manage ecosystems
11. Improve distribution infrastructure
12. Shrink corporate water footprints
13. Build international frameworks and institutional cooperation
14. Address pollution
15. Public common resources / equitable access
16. R&D / Innovation
17. Water projects in developing countries/transfer of technology
18. Climate change mitigation
19. Population growth control
circleofblue.org

So let’s do both.

We could encourage and support the experts on their long term solutions for clean water.

• Follow them on social media,
• keep an eye on what they’re doing,
• and see how to get involved in their work.

Out of the 19 solutions they list, if I were thirsty right now, or wanted a drink of water with my lunch, to take to class or after a workout, none of the 19 solutions would give you or me a glass of clean water today.

As a small first step towards having clean water on our college campuses:

We could have the plastic-free, self-sustaining source of renewable, fresh, clean drinking water available to us through watergenusa.com in the form of water generators all over our campuses, and use recyclable bottles to fill up on clean, filtered, water.

There’s finally a plastic-free alternative to water bottles that students can promote and make a real impact on both having clean water, reducing plastic waste.

We know about solutions.

We’re the changemakers. So let’s make changes.

What’s Next? Talk with others. Take action.

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