Last week my students, BEST Eco, discussed water, another super important ingredient to life on Earth. The planet has about 3% freshwater available for us all to use; and most of that small amount is polluted. Living near a body of water, as we do in the watershed of the Bronx River, we talked about how our actions on ground affect the condition of the river. Our city, heavy on concrete and paved surfaces doesn’t allow for soil (all covered up) to absorb rainwater and refill our aquifers (underground well of water). As heavy rain falls on our cities, it collects and carries trash and toxins from the street (car oil, detergents, etc) into our rivers and waterways. Due to our combined sewer system, which cannot handle extra loads of water from heavy rain, this wastewater sometimes makes it through to our waterways untreated; sometimes it pools and cause floods.
See Post “What’s in your water”.
Our training in Green infrastructure shows ways to combat the issue of stormwater runoff. Stormwater management techniques such as green roofs, rain gardens, rain barrels, bioswales and other measures known as LID BMP’s (Low Impact Development Best Management Practices), can greatly reduce the amount of contaminated water that enters our waterways. Catching and using water on site prevents waste of this precious resource and having large areas of soil & green allows for rainwater to soak back into the ground, refilling our aquifers, continuing the natural system for recycling water since the beginning.
This led to talking about water being held as a Public Trust, a resource that is provided by nature for all living beings to share.
And how government is supposed to protect these shared resources for us, but for mysterious reasons like privatization, our water is now collected by companies who can bottle and resell it back to us for profit. This also depletes our aquifers, which as previously mentioned aren’t getting refills due to our concrete infrastructure. Soon there will be no water, or maybe even worse, only a few with access to it. Issues of environmental justice are brought up, the people having a say in what is being done. The mismanagement of the source of life on the planet for the temporary financial benefit of a few is a catastrophe waiting to happen. See the movie “Blue Gold: Water Wars”.
As citizens, those who live in these conditions and who have a direct stake in the outcome can educate ourselves to help. Training in the green sector provides us with the voice to participate and skills to back it up with sustainable solutions.
- New York City Commits to Green Solution for Sewage Overflows, Harnessing Water as a Resource to Improve Communities (ecocentricblog.org)
- City: collect the rain when it falls (kshb.com)
- Coca-Cola syrup barrels converted to rain catchers (bizjournals.com)
- Who cares about our water supply? This was gonna be titled, New Cleaning items coming… (busyasabeazer.wordpress.com)