Day 4

Water

PARTNERS

The Story of Stuff Project
Guayaki
The Story of Stuff Project

OVERVIEW

“When there is no clean water left, our tears will fall as oil.” — Autumn Peltier, Chief Water Protector for the Anishinabek Nation

Water is life. We need it to survive, yet this simple substance is often neglected, abused, and taken for granted. We all deserve access to clean, safe drinking water, yet not all of us have it. 

Water covers 70% of our planet, but only 2.5% of it is freshwater. Of that 2.5%, only 1.5% is on the surface and able to support life. With that tiny percentage available, the strain on global freshwater supply is intensified by the uncertainties of climate change and pollution. Extreme weather patterns, including droughts and floods, mean billions of people are at risk of water insecurity – not having enough clean water to drink, farm, and maintain hygiene. Today, over 2.5 billion people lack access to adequate water sanitation and 4 billion suffer from water scarcity. This all happens while pollution continues to fill our streams, rivers, lakes and oceans.

80% of pollution to marine environments comes from land. It occurs when harmful chemicals or microorganisms contaminate a body of water, rendering it toxic and harmful to plants, animals, and humans. Agricultural fertilizer and pesticide runoff and industrial and sewage pollution are common water pollutants. Another form of water pollution occurs with the regularity of oil spills.

Since 2010 in the United States, over 11.5 million gallons of oil have spilled from pipeline leaks. These spills disproportionately harm communities of color, particularly Indigenous communities and their water sources. Tribal nations, community activists, and environmental organizations in Minnesota are currently opposing the construction of the Line 3 pipeline because it will threaten land, water, and people. Line 3 would transport one of the dirtiest types of oil, tar sands crude oil, and emit as much carbon pollution as 50 coal plants. Many oppose construction of this pipeline because it will run through tribal lands and threaten Anishinaabe culture. Wild rice is an integral part of the Anishinaabe people, culture, and livelihoods, and grows in lakes and creeks. When oil inevitably leaks from this pipeline, it will damage surrounding water sources and potentially harm hundreds of acres of wild rice. Water Protectors, led mainly by Indigenous women, continue to fight for the protection of these vital sources of water. 

Alongside pollution, many marginalized communities face increasing water threats and crises. Residents in Jackson, Mississippi were forced to live without access to clean water for over a month in February of 2021 after being hit by a winter storm. Approximately 82% of the residents in Jackson are Black and disproportionately experience environmental racism and injustice. Privilege plays an enormous role in who has access to potable water. The Biden Administration has pledged to invest in and improve infrastructure that is failing marginalized communities. 

43% of white Americans say that they are “very confident” in their tap water, while only 24% of Black Americans and 19% of Hispanic Americans indicate the same degree of confidence, according to a recent survey.

75% of Black Americans are more likely to live near polluting facilities than the general population, per environmental advocacy group, Clean Water Action. In addition, Hispanic Americans are twice as likely to live in communities where the drinking water violates contamination laws. These communities are often crippled by poor infrastructure that’s only worsening due to the pandemic.

In this country and around the world, clean, safe drinking water means safety, survival and hope for both people and planet. For many people, that does not come out of the tap, but need not resort to wasteful, toxic plastic bottles either. Today’s partner, Boxed Water is creating a world where access to safe drinking water does not mean a negative impact on the planet. Positive change is possible, and Boxed Water’s industry-shifting work proves how businesses can be a force for good, for public health, for sustainability, for equity. Our actions and choices as citizens and consumers can and must respect the resources our planet provides and leave the Earth better than we found it.         

Water continues to be underappreciated, despite the fact that communal and societal stability depend upon it. The United States is second highest on the list of global water usage, behind only the United Arab Emirates. The average person in the United States uses about 156 gallons of water per day. For perspective, the average person in France uses 77 gallons and in India, that number falls to38.

We are called upon to protect the source of clean water, and center Indigenous communities who steward the land and all natural resources. Indigenous peoples and First Nations have particularly strong relationships with water. Many traditions depend on water and this symbiotic relationship has persevered for thousands of years. Water provides transportation, food, connection, and life. Indigenous peoples continue to protect water from human threats and advocate for safety, access and rights.

There are many ways that you can protect and appreciate water. One is to reduce plastic bottle waste and opt for reusables. Question How You Hydrate, as our nonprofit partner, Lonely Whale, encourages — with tools to address plastic bottle overuse in the name of ‘convenience,’ contributing to the estimated 5 trillion plastic pieces currently in the ocean. Alternatives to single-use plastic, like safe and reusable stainless steel water bottles (by Klean Kanteen and others) reduce waste and save money. Before filling up, check to see if the drinking water is safe with EWG’s Tap Water database

Research and support water activists and find ways to protect watersheds in and around your community, in addition to making a habit of picking up trash along ditches, streams, and other locales that lead to or are near water sources. The Water Protector Legal Collective provides legal support to protect the land, water, and Indigenous rights. You can also contact local representatives to urge them to support water protection in your community.

Finally, take time to appreciate water. Whether the glass of water next to you or the lake, river or ocean where you feel peace and calm, recognize the importance of this invaluable resource. 

CHALLENGE

Green

20 POINTS

THINK

As water demand increases and supply decreases, the pressure for sustainable management falls on us. This calls for communities to engage in water-conscious consumer practices wherever and whenever possible, including with our hidden (indirect or “virtual”) water footprint, which makes up 96% of total water use.

 

CHALLENGE

Do you have any idea how much water you use daily? Think about food, bathing, hydration, clothing, washing dishes, all of it. What is your direct water consumption? And indirect? 

Write down an estimate of how much water you think you use per day. Now, it’s time to calculate. Use this Water Footprint Calculator to find out how much water you actually use directly and indirectly each day.

  • Compare your actual water footprint with your guess.
  • What surprised you most about your water footprint?
  • Which category of your water footprint was highest – indoor, outdoor or indirect? 
  • What’s one way that you can reduce your water footprint at home?

Post a screenshot of one/multiple piece/s of your water footprint on Instagram, tag @TurningGreenOrg and use hashtags #PGC2021 and #BetterPlanet. Include a brief caption to describe your findings.

 

DELIVERABLES

Upload a PDF with your responses and a screenshot of your social media post. Please include your name (or team name), username, and school.

Submission Guidelines

  • Submit all entries as PDFs; no Word or Pages documents
  • Be sure to include all content for your submission in one document
  • All work must be submitted in English or with English translations
  • Save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_green_2021.pdf)
  • Do not include # or spaces in filenames
  • Do not upload a file larger than 5 MB
  • You will see a confirmation in green that your submission uploaded correctly; if you do not see this confirmation, please try again
  • If your total points does not change, your submission did not load correctly, please try again
  • Send any questions to info@turninggreen.org
  • Don’t forget to post about the challenge and your learnings/doings on social media and tag us on Instagram @TurningGreenOrg, Facebook @Turning Green, and Twitter @TurningGreenOrg, and use #PGC2021
The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

Greener

40 POINTS

THINK

How often do you think about water? How often do you thank water? Take a moment to look around you right now. Where do you see water? What role did water play in creating the goods within reach?

 

CHALLENGE

Create a list of all of the things water brings you. From your favorite pair of jeans to happy plants in your home, water impacts your life in ways you may not have thought about before.

Read this article describing some of the valuable roles water plays in our lives. Reflect and briefly answer the following:

  • What surprised you about your relationship with water?
  • How can you be more mindful and appreciative of water going forward?

Now ask 2-3 family members or friends to think about these questions as well. 

Next, make a list of all of your interactions with water. Create a graphic of your choice (art piece, drawing, photo collage, infographic or otherwise) to depict your relationship with water. Be creative! Upload on Instagram with an informative caption, and invite others around you to do the same! Tag @TurningGreenOrg in both the image and caption, and include #PGC2021. 

 

DELIVERABLES

Upload a PDF with your responses, your art piece, and a screenshot of your social media post. Please include your name (or team name), username, and school.

Submission Guidelines

  • Submit all entries as PDFs; no Word or Pages documents
  • Be sure to include all content for your submission in one document
  • All work must be submitted in English or with English translations
  • Save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_greener_2021.pdf)
  • Do not include # or spaces in filenames
  • Do not upload a file larger than 5 MB
  • You will see a confirmation in green that your submission uploaded correctly; if you do not see this confirmation, please try again
  • If your total points does not change, your submission did not load correctly, please try again
  • Send any questions to info@turninggreen.org
  • Don’t forget to post about the challenge and your learnings/doings on social media and tag us on Instagram @TurningGreenOrg, Facebook @Turning Green, and Twitter @TurningGreenOrg, and use #PGC2021
The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

Greenest

60 POINTS

THINK

Every person is guaranteed the right to clean water under international law and United Nations declarations — however, across the US and world, everyone does NOT have access to clean water. More than 30 million Americans lived in areas where water systems violated safety rules at the beginning of last year, according to data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 844 million global citizens lacked access to clean water last year, many due to agricultural runoff, industrial and sewage pollution, and farm waste. Let that sink in. As with most environmental and climate issues, people in low income, BIPOC, and rural communities are disproportionately affected by water pollution. We cannot stand silently while injustices persist.  

 

CHALLENGE

Take in the full picture of what water injustice looks like. 

  • Read this article about the Jackson, Mississippi water crisis, underscoring inequitable water access and the impacts of white flight.
  • Read about how Delhi, India is dealing with industrial pollutants contaminating its water supply.

Now it’s time for you to take a stand. Read this piece to learn more about communities that lack access to clean water. Think about water quality issues where you live. Is there a community fighting for clean water nearby? Sadly, the answer is yes, as this crisis is tragically and inexcusably universal.

  • Research who does not have adequate access to clean water in your community. Write a letter to one state or local government representative asking them to act to protect water for all people, especially their constituents. Make the case for additional attention, funding and government involvement on the critical issue. Include background information and facts, such as:
    • Why does this community have polluted water (i.e. agricultural runoff, industrial pollution, etc.)?
    • How is the community affected/challenged/harmed?
    • What inequalities and environmental injustices are underscored here?
  • How would you bring awareness to this problem? How might you build a campaign with a clear call to action to help the community fight back? Create a poster with a bold message that will mobilize people to be the change. Here is some insight into how to build a campaign.
  • Upload the campaign poster to Instagram with an informative attention-grabbing caption based on your research, tagging @TurningGreenOrg and relevant local leaders, as well as #PGC2021.
  • Bonus points: Send your letter to the relevant leader. Send us a screen shot if you get a reply and you will receive bonus points! 

 

DELIVERABLES

Upload a PDF with each of your responses, your visual, and a screenshot of your social media post. Please include your name (or team name), username, and school.

Submission Guidelines

  • Submit all entries as PDFs; no Word or Pages documents
  • Be sure to include all content for your submission in one document
  • All work must be submitted in English or with English translations
  • Save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_greenest_2021.pdf)
  • Do not include # or spaces in filenames
  • Do not upload a file larger than 5 MB
  • You will see a confirmation in green that your submission uploaded correctly; if you do not see this confirmation, please try again
  • If your total points does not change, your submission did not load correctly, please try again
  • Send any questions to info@turninggreen.org
  • Don’t forget to post about the challenge and your learnings/doings on social media and tag us on Instagram @TurningGreenOrg, Facebook @Turning Green, and Twitter @TurningGreenOrg, and use #PGC2021
The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

Green

20 POINTS

THINK

As water demand increases and supply decreases, the pressure for sustainable management falls on us. This calls for communities to engage in water-conscious consumer practices wherever and whenever possible, including with our hidden (indirect or “virtual”) water footprint, which makes up 96% of total water use.

 

CHALLENGE

Do you have any idea how much water you use daily? Think about food, bathing, hydration, clothing, washing dishes, all of it. What is your direct water consumption? And indirect? 

Write down an estimate of how much water you think you use per day. Now, it’s time to calculate. Use this Water Footprint Calculator to find out how much water you actually use directly and indirectly each day.

  • Compare your actual water footprint with your guess.
  • What surprised you most about your water footprint?
  • Which category of your water footprint was highest – indoor, outdoor or indirect? 
  • What’s one way that you can reduce your water footprint at home?

Post a screenshot of one/multiple piece/s of your water footprint on Instagram, tag @TurningGreenOrg and use hashtags #PGC2021 and #BetterPlanet. Include a brief caption to describe your findings.

 

DELIVERABLES

Upload a PDF with your responses and a screenshot of your social media post. Please include your name (or team name), username, and school.

Submission Guidelines

  • Submit all entries as PDFs; no Word or Pages documents
  • Be sure to include all content for your submission in one document
  • All work must be submitted in English or with English translations
  • Save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_green_2021.pdf)
  • Do not include # or spaces in filenames
  • Do not upload a file larger than 5 MB
  • You will see a confirmation in green that your submission uploaded correctly; if you do not see this confirmation, please try again
  • If your total points does not change, your submission did not load correctly, please try again
  • Send any questions to info@turninggreen.org
  • Don’t forget to post about the challenge and your learnings/doings on social media and tag us on Instagram @TurningGreenOrg, Facebook @Turning Green, and Twitter @TurningGreenOrg, and use #PGC2021
The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

Greener

40 POINTS

THINK

How often do you think about water? How often do you thank water? Take a moment to look around you right now. Where do you see water? What role did water play in creating the goods within reach?

 

CHALLENGE

Create a list of all of the things water brings you. From your favorite pair of jeans to happy plants in your home, water impacts your life in ways you may not have thought about before.

Read this article describing some of the valuable roles water plays in our lives. Reflect and briefly answer the following:

  • What surprised you about your relationship with water?
  • How can you be more mindful and appreciative of water going forward?

Now ask 2-3 family members or friends to think about these questions as well. 

Next, make a list of all of your interactions with water. Create a graphic of your choice (art piece, drawing, photo collage, infographic or otherwise) to depict your relationship with water. Be creative! Upload on Instagram with an informative caption, and invite others around you to do the same! Tag @TurningGreenOrg in both the image and caption, and include #PGC2021. 

 

DELIVERABLES

Upload a PDF with your responses, your art piece, and a screenshot of your social media post. Please include your name (or team name), username, and school.

Submission Guidelines

  • Submit all entries as PDFs; no Word or Pages documents
  • Be sure to include all content for your submission in one document
  • All work must be submitted in English or with English translations
  • Save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_greener_2021.pdf)
  • Do not include # or spaces in filenames
  • Do not upload a file larger than 5 MB
  • You will see a confirmation in green that your submission uploaded correctly; if you do not see this confirmation, please try again
  • If your total points does not change, your submission did not load correctly, please try again
  • Send any questions to info@turninggreen.org
  • Don’t forget to post about the challenge and your learnings/doings on social media and tag us on Instagram @TurningGreenOrg, Facebook @Turning Green, and Twitter @TurningGreenOrg, and use #PGC2021
The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

Greenest

60 POINTS

THINK

Every person is guaranteed the right to clean water under international law and United Nations declarations — however, across the US and world, everyone does NOT have access to clean water. More than 30 million Americans lived in areas where water systems violated safety rules at the beginning of last year, according to data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 844 million global citizens lacked access to clean water last year, many due to agricultural runoff, industrial and sewage pollution, and farm waste. Let that sink in. As with most environmental and climate issues, people in low income, BIPOC, and rural communities are disproportionately affected by water pollution. We cannot stand silently while injustices persist.  

 

CHALLENGE

Take in the full picture of what water injustice looks like. 

  • Read this article about the Jackson, Mississippi water crisis, underscoring inequitable water access and the impacts of white flight.
  • Read about how Delhi, India is dealing with industrial pollutants contaminating its water supply.

Now it’s time for you to take a stand. Read this piece to learn more about communities that lack access to clean water. Think about water quality issues where you live. Is there a community fighting for clean water nearby? Sadly, the answer is yes, as this crisis is tragically and inexcusably universal.

  • Research who does not have adequate access to clean water in your community. Write a letter to one state or local government representative asking them to act to protect water for all people, especially their constituents. Make the case for additional attention, funding and government involvement on the critical issue. Include background information and facts, such as:
    • Why does this community have polluted water (i.e. agricultural runoff, industrial pollution, etc.)?
    • How is the community affected/challenged/harmed?
    • What inequalities and environmental injustices are underscored here?
  • How would you bring awareness to this problem? How might you build a campaign with a clear call to action to help the community fight back? Create a poster with a bold message that will mobilize people to be the change. Here is some insight into how to build a campaign.
  • Upload the campaign poster to Instagram with an informative attention-grabbing caption based on your research, tagging @TurningGreenOrg and relevant local leaders, as well as #PGC2021.
  • Bonus points: Send your letter to the relevant leader. Send us a screen shot if you get a reply and you will receive bonus points! 

 

DELIVERABLES

Upload a PDF with each of your responses, your visual, and a screenshot of your social media post. Please include your name (or team name), username, and school.

Submission Guidelines

  • Submit all entries as PDFs; no Word or Pages documents
  • Be sure to include all content for your submission in one document
  • All work must be submitted in English or with English translations
  • Save filenames using the following format: firstname_lastname_challengeday_challengelevel_year.pdf (ex: kasie_shils_day1_greenest_2021.pdf)
  • Do not include # or spaces in filenames
  • Do not upload a file larger than 5 MB
  • You will see a confirmation in green that your submission uploaded correctly; if you do not see this confirmation, please try again
  • If your total points does not change, your submission did not load correctly, please try again
  • Send any questions to info@turninggreen.org
  • Don’t forget to post about the challenge and your learnings/doings on social media and tag us on Instagram @TurningGreenOrg, Facebook @Turning Green, and Twitter @TurningGreenOrg, and use #PGC2021
The deadline for entering this challenge has past.

TODAY’S PRIZES

Up to 10 Greener and 10 Greenest outstanding submissions will be selected as winners.

Each Greener Winner Will Receive:

  • A two-month subscription from our partner, Boxed Water, a company whose boxes are made of paper-based cartons that are FSC certified, 92% renewable, and 100% recyclable, making them the most sustainable carton in the water aisle. Better for people & planet. For each box sold, Boxed Water plants trees in the US National Forests; 1 million and counting.
  • An eco-starter kit from Boxed Water which includes a t-shirt, a repurposed Boxed Water™ carton notebook, reusable wheat straw with case and cleaning brush, beeswax wrap for food storage and a reusable canvas tote.

Each Greenest winner will receive

  • A three-month subscription from our partner, Boxed Water, a company whose boxes are made of paper-based cartons that are FSC certified, 92% renewable, and 100% recyclable, making them the most sustainable carton in the water aisle. Better for people & planet. For each box sold, Boxed Water plants trees in the US National Forests; 1 million and counting.
  • Coalatree’s packable recycled nylon duffle bag. Coalatree started out as a self-sustaining organic farm in Colorado that focused around a “reap what you sow” mentality, and integrated sustainable practices with quality products. Wanting to create their own workwear, they design eco-minded gear and apparel for the adventurer in everyone.