This week, April 10-16, 2011, is National Environmental Education Week, also known as EEWeek. EE Week is held every year the week before Earth Day to promote environmental learning and stewardship among primary and secondary school students.
This year’s theme is “Ocean Connections.” There are many activities for students to participate in, including the 2011 Photo Blog Contest, and an electronic field trip about pollinators taking place on April 13. Additionally, broadcast meteorologists have put together presentations explaining how the ocean affects weather patterns, which are available for students to view online. If you want to participate, register today and begin learning about your surroundings!
Join teachers and students in exploring our Ocean Connections as part of National Environmental Education Week, April 10-16, 2011
We might have divided it up and given the different areas different names, but there really is only one ocean. And it is the dominant feature of our planet. No matter how far we live from the coast, we are all connected to the ocean, sometimes in nearly invisible ways.
From the vast network of streams and rivers that make up the major watersheds on Earth (all of which drain into the ocean) to the ingredients in products we use every day, there is no escaping our dependence on the ocean. The ocean supplies us with food and medicine, cycles our water, generates most of the oxygen we breathe and balances our climate. Recognizing the vital importance of the ocean to all life on Earth, National Environmental Education Week’s 2011 theme is Ocean Connections.
National Environmental Education Week (EE Week) is the nation’s largest environmental education event held each year the week before Earth Day – this year, April 10-16. EE Week inspires environmental learning and stewardship among young people by connecting educators with environmental resources to promote K-12 students’ understanding of the environment. The goal of EE Week is to assist educators in incorporating more high-quality environmental education across the curriculum. In 2010, over 2,000 schools and organizations across the country organized EE Week events. Collectively these organizations reached millions of students with environmentally themed lessons and activities.
Have you had a glass of water to drink today? How much energy do you think went into treating and transporting that water from its source – probably a lake or aquifer – to your kitchen faucet?
In the United States, 13 percent of the total energy produced each year is used to treat, transport, and heat our water. While that sounds like a lot of energy, getting clean water in the United States is as easy as turning on the tap. In some places around the globe, it is not that simple.
In some parts of the world, water is pumped by hand to fill buckets that are carried by women and children from a public source to their homes Photo Credit: WaterAid/ Layton Thompson
Water around the World: Carrying Water
In the United States and other developed countries, cleaned and treated fresh water is piped directly into our homes – we can turn on the tap for drinkable water any time. However, in less-developed countries, human energy is a necessary part of daily water use. About two-thirds of the world’s families do not have a water supply in their homes and must fetch water in jugs and buckets from wells, rivers, hand pumps, and other public sources. This water is usually collected and carried by women and children.In Asia and Africa, the average woman walks a total of 3.7 miles to collect and carry fresh water home each day. The average weight of water that a woman in Africa and Asia will carry is about 40 pounds! Water is usually carried on the head, back or hips, which can cause severe health problems. On average, a person living in sub-Saharan Africa uses four gallons of water a day, while someone in the United States uses 82 gallons of water a day or more.
Many African women must travel miles by foot each day to fetch enough water for their families
Photo Credit: WaterAid/Layton Thompson
How many trips would you have to make if you had to carry all the water your family uses in a day?
But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, here are our picks for the top 5 ways to celebrate liquid life today, World Water Day.
1. Check out National Geographic magazine in all itswatery blue glory. In recognition of World Water Day, National Geographic magazine will offer a free interactive version of its April single-topic issue, Water: Our Thirsty World. Between March 22 and April 2, anyone can visit nationalgeographic.com/freshwater to download the April issue for free. In addition to all the material in the print issue, readers of the digital issue will get animated images, photo slide shows, and more.
We encourage you to take advantage of the special, limited-time offer; after April 2 access to the new e-zine will cost you $5.95 an issue. Be one of the first to experience this innovative technology and tell us hereon the blog what you think!
You may recall our Environmental Education Week Guest Blogger series this past March/April, during which we featured three educators engaging their students in environmental field work and inquiry: Tasha Kiemel of Sammamish, WA told us about a 4th grade wetlands restoration project; Dave Wood of Washington, DC chronicled an 8th grade investigation into local water resources; and Debra Weitzel of Middleton, WI shared details of high schoolers’ participation in a citizen science water testing initiative.
Do YOU have a positive story of how you and your students are bringing environmental education to students? EE Week would like to hear about it! Enter the 2009 Photo Blog Contest and upload your photos and stories on the EE Week Blog.