I have never been so happy to see, feel, and hear rain in all my life. My windows are being pelted with droplets, the leaves on the trees are dancing wildly, and I am smiling from ear to ear. When news programs claim one day that “experts” say the greater Atlanta area has 3 1/2 months’ supply of water and then the next day those same “experts” say we are already down to 81 days’ worth of water, what is one to do but panic?
How does the ol’ saying go? The mother of innovation is necessity (or something like that, no?)
Well, we certainly need water. So where is our innovation now? Or do some people still hold onto the hope that a magical spring will be discovered to replenish our lakes?
It is time to conserve.
It is time to imagine.
It is time to be innovative.
It is time to be critical.
And what a perfect time to engage students of all ages in interesting critical inquiry work around water.
Wouldn’t it be great if students researched a community’s water usage and plotted the usage alongside size of family? Size of home? Size of household income?
Having lived a number of times as a child without running water in the house, I know for a fact that folks struggling to pay the water bill are likely to conserve and reuse water supplies in the home. It has been said before, but I’ll ask it again here, could we learn valuable lessons from people with humble means about stretching resources, conserving resources, and living in ways that are more eco-friendly?
Now there’s a great critical inquiry: What is the carbon footprint of a family with a low income level versus a family with a high income level?
but back to water…
Who is using all our damn water???
Could students learn about and work toward promoting climate-appropriate landscaping versus the kind that needs constant watering?
What about swimming pools, fountains, and other privately-owned luxuries that slurp up water supplies? Now that would be an interesting mathematical investigation: How many gallons of water are used in the greater Atlanta area (or any metro area for that matter) for private swimming pools? If those private pools were not filled in late summer, at what levels would our major lakes be now?
And what a great ethical inquiry too: The Army Corps of Engineers has been releasing millions of gallons of water from north Georgia downstream to save the mussels in Florida. When wildlife and humans both need water, and the water supply is greatly diminished, who gets the water?