On March 21st, 2019, Green Initiatives partnered with The We Are Water Foundation, and Roca Shanghai Gallery to celebrate World Water Day with The Hidden Life of Water Special Event.
World Water Day Background
March 22nd, 2019 marked the 26th World Water Day, as well as an annual opportunity to focus on the importance of water availability and sustainable management.
In 2010, the United Nations recognized “the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right. For us to reach a deeper understanding and make stronger actions towards this issue, the theme this year surrounded the idea of ‘leaving no one behind.’
Does Asia have enough water to continue to develop?
The rain was pouring hard on the day of the event, however, that did not stop people from filling up the Roca Shanghai Gallery. We were honoured to have Dawn McGregor of China Water Risk, and Michael Spencer of Alliance for Water Stewardship to speak at this event and share inspirational speeches that included unbelievable statistics, stories, and facts about the water scarcity situation along Asia’s major rivers. Does Asia have enough water to continue to develop? Dawn left the audience with something to think about, with her engaging talk. Michael shared his experiences about managing water resources in Australia and the governments role in controlling the supply of water on driest inhabited continent on the planet. The two presentations sparked an interesting debate among the audience, with people discussing if our current agricultural and manufacturing process are really sustainable.
Humans, left to their own, will instinctively over use common resources – in other words unsustainably – because the cost of doing so is a social cost whereas the benefit from doing so is a private benefit.
- William Foster Lloyd
The focus of the event was Sustainable Development Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030.
As of right now, 2.1 billion people - roughly 30% of the global population - still live without safe water. At this point in time it’s possible that clean access to water may not be just a poor or rural problem because cities are starting to get left behind. In fact, this is more so for Asia-Pacific countries – where two thirds of the SDG targets, especially SDG #6, is falling behind in progress.
According to CWR’s study, if we continued at the rate, we are currently using water; 700 million people worldwide could be displaced due to intense water scarcity. If we looked a little further to 2100, climate change could force a global migration of over 1 billion people – mainly from the Asia-Pacific region. Therefore we – a big chunk of the Asia-pacific region – desperately need to start making changes now.
To bring in a more local perspective on how can we start making these small changes now, Eve Samyuktha of Plant Based Consulting China presented their study on how they are engaging local restaurants in Shanghai to replace meats like beef and pork which are commonly used in local delicacies like Mapo Tofu, with abundantly available plant based ingredients like soy and vegetables. This simple act by restaurant owners and diners can lead to huge savings in water consumption, since the meat industry has one of the highest water footprints among all our foods.
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