Great Resources for Teaching
from the August 2010 YES! Education Connection Newsletter
Read the newsletter: Lessons to celebrate and protect clean, fresh water
From measuring your water footprint to understanding the breadth of the BP oil spill, here is a bounty of resources for your classroom of local and world citizens.
3 Big Ideas to Make Water Last
by Doug Pibel, Illustrations by Alexandre Dumas
Steward our watersheds, share the water fairly, and live within our means. Here is what sustainability looks like:
We’re already at the limits of supply in parts of the United States. But even with climate change and growing populations, there’s enough for everyone if we work together to keep it clean, use it wisely, and share it fairly.
Purchase the Watershed Moments poster.
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Where is our water?
95.7% of the water on earth is salty. 84% of water in the atmosphere comes from the oceans, than falls as rain.
Of the 2.5% of Earth's water that's fresh, about 70% is ice—and inaccessible. 
Of the 2.5% of Earth's water that's fresh, about 30% is groundwater. 
Of the 2.5% of Earth's water that's fresh, 0.3% is surface water (in lakes, rivers, and wetlands) or water vapor. 
Who takes fresh water?
3 big ideas to make water last
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Take care of the ecosystems that supply us.
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Share it because it belongs to everyone.
Learn to live within our water means.
Doug Pibel researched and edited this poster for Water Solutions, the Summer 2010 issue of YES! Magazine. Doug is managing editor at YES! Magazine. Research assistance by Berit Anderson, Ashlee Green, and Keith Rutowski.
Illustrations by Alexandre Dumas. www.alexdumas.net
- Of the 2.5% of Earth’s water that’s fresh, about 70% is ice—and inaccessible.
Source: Igor Shiklomanov's chapter "World fresh water resources" in Peter H. Gleick (editor), 1993, Water in Crisis: A Guide to the World's Fresh Water Resources (Oxford University Press, New York). ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/earthwherewater.html
- 30.1% of all freshwater is fresh groundwater. ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/earthwherewater.html
- “New York City was faced with the potentially enormous cost of an artificial water filtration plant, estimated at as much as $6-$8 billion, plus yearly maintenance expenses amounting to $300-$500 million….With vigorous lobbying, they won agreement from federal regulators to try an alternative: rather than pay for the costly new filtration plant, the city would spend the much smaller amount of about $1.5 billion to protect the upstate watershed, by buying land as buffers and upgrading polluting sewage treatment plants, among other tactics….” Gretchen C. Daily and Katherine Ellison, Orion Magazine, Spring 2002, www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/110
- "Drip irrigation typically saves between 30-50% of water used on crops and orchards." extension.osu.edu/%7Enews/story.php?id=481
- Lawns: NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, www.dec.ny.gov/public/43534.htmlGolf: Golf Course Environmental Profile vol.2: Water Use and Conservation Practices on U.S. Golf Courses, Environmental Institute for Golf." www.eifg.org/programs/EIFG_GCEP_Vol_2.pdf
- LA rainfall: "Los Angeles Rainfall, 1877-2005. NOAA www.wrh.noaa.gov/lox/climate/Los%20Angeles%20Yearly%20Rainfall%20-%20jo_8822_image001.gifLA Water usage: Los Angeles Urban Water Management Plan, 2005. www.ladwp.com/ladwp/cms/ladwp001354.jsp
Water conservation is something that anyone can do. But it does take time and awareness. H2O Conserve offers tools and information to help your students make water conservation part of their everyday lives.
Water Footprint CalculatorA water footprint measures how much water someone uses for a specific duration of time. It includes water that is used directly (shower, cooking, drinking) and indirectly to produce consumer goods (plastic to produce).
The H2O Conserve Water Footprint Calculator will give you and your students an honest assessment of how much water you use. It will applaud what you’re doing well (recycling saves water!) and flag where you might improve. Rather than wallow in the fact that Americans have the world’s largest water footprints—reflective of our reliance on animal products—motivate your students to find out where they can begin making positive changes. VISIT: Water Footprint Calculator
Water Saving TipsAfter your students have measured their water footprints, review these water saving tips and choose some to adopt; for a start, select one that is relatively easy and another that is do-able, but requires some thought and effort. H2O Conserve categorizes suggestions by usage (kitchen, gardening, entertainment, etc.) and notes if they’re free, low-cost or somewhat pricey. Explore the benefits of graywater systems, which recycles water used in the home i.e. shower, laundry, sink, and find out if graywater reuse is allowed in your community. EXPLORE: Water Saving Tips
The above resources accompany the August 2010 YES! Education Connection NewsletterREAD NEWSLETTER: Lessons to celebrate and protect clean, fresh water