Global gathering on water conservation
While students were enjoying their midterm break in October, Davida Morris of Greenrock travelled with two teachers and two students from the Dalton E. Tucker Primary School to London, England to attend the Water Explorer's International Event and prize-giving ceremony, which was followed by a three-day Delivery Partner Conference. The prize-giving event took place over a day-and-a-half but it was full of fun and unexpected surprises.
Young Observer met up with Davida Morris, Schools Programme Manager at Greenrock to learn more about the conference.
Q. Please give us an overview of your experience.
I was struck by how so many countries put great value on this most precious resource. I really enjoyed seeing the enthusiasm young people had in relation to water. They not only wanted to win the competition but they also had the understanding that water is precious and it is of utmost importance to use it responsibly.
I was happy to mingle with other countries and learn about the ways in which they were able to get their city councils and governments to be more proactive when it comes to water conservation and usage.
Q. How many people were at the conference?
Q. Which countries were represented?
South Africa, Germany, Spain, Turkey, Poland, Italy, France, Ireland, Switzerland, Bermuda and our hosts United Kingdom.
Q. Please share any good examples of environmental living that you learnt at the conference?
Place a 2 litre bottle of water in your toilet cistern. The cistern will fill as normal and use less water when flushing.
Use a cup of water when brushing your teeth or shaving instead of leaving the tap running.
Use “grey water” to wash your car or water your garden. Grey water is relatively clean waste water that goes down the drain from sinks, bathtubs, washing machines and other appliances.
Take more showers than baths and when you do shower turn off the shower while soaping up.
Q. At the global level, how do you think Bermuda is doing with regards to environmental issues?
In terms of water appreciation I think Bermuda is a bit removed from the seriousness of the issue of water scarcity. I think part of that is because in Bermuda we have a good water catchment system in place. This is to our credit but it also makes us unaware to the seriousness of the situation for the rest of the world and also can lead to complacency. When our tank runs low, we call for a water truck, however our access to water is mainly dependent on regular rainfall. We have had times where we've had little rainfall and people have had to call on the water trucks more. What most Bermudians are not aware of is how much water exists at the source for those water trucks and how changes in weather can affect the amount of water we have available for island use.
I think Bermuda needs greater access to knowledge around environmental issues and the government especially needs to do more to protect the people of this island from the changes that are happening and coming ahead.
The non-inclusion of any kind of Bill in regards to climate change with the past Throne Speech already places Bermuda behind most of the world. The bits we do are good, but don't go far enough. We cannot afford for environmental issues to be an afterthought. We need it to be at the forefront of our mind when making any decision regarding Bermuda.
Other countries are looking at the Sustainable Development Goals and looking at ways to implement them. In Bermuda they are not mentioned, giving the air that this is not an important issue, when other countries are making it a priority.
That said, Bermuda can share best practice with other countries. South Africa, which is in the midst of a water crisis would benefit from multiple desalinisation plants like we have at Tyne's Bay.
The capturing of rain water for storage is not a common practice in South Africa but is on the rise. While at present large outdoor “JoJo tanks” are used to collect water, there is a cost which can prove prohibitive to many. Bermuda can share its practice of building homes with water tanks underneath.
Q. Who were some of the key note speakers?
There were three judges. One from Water Aid and one from HSBC Global and one from Global Action Plan UK. Each made short remarks.
Q. What did you learn?
Learning about the crisis of water in other countries was eye opening and extremely sobering. While many think of the impact of climate change as something that will happen in the far future, the reality is the world is feeling the impact now. Bermuda really needs to do more to prepare itself for the changes that are most certainly coming.
Q. How can the conference impact the environment in Bermuda?
1. Taught new habits to students that they can share with others in relation to conserving water
2. Increased awareness of how precious water is and how precarious the global water situation is.