What does it really mean to value water? It is no question that water is our most precious resource. The question is: how can we value water in a way that honors it, preserves it, and protects its dwindling supply?
The reality is that water holds different values for different people, communities and cultures. In many cultures, freshwater plays a significant spiritual role and holds cultural value beyond its basic function. We know that the value of water is about much more than its price – water has enormous and complex value for our households, culture, health, education, economics and the integrity of our natural environment.
If we overlook any of these values, we risk mismanaging this finite, irreplaceable resource.
In celebration of UN World Water Day, we aligned our program - including featured films, podcasts, and additional resources - with the 2021 theme: Valuing Water. Keep scrolling to learn more and explore with us.
In honor of World Water Day, we shared two films that explore how new technologies, bold innovations and hyper-local solutions can be a part of that narrative: Brave Blue World (2020, 50 mins), narrated by Liam Neeson, featuring Matt Damon and Jaden Smith; and Connect the Drops with NASA Data (2019, 3 mins), courtesy of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
How we talk about water - and its value - matters. Language is important. It can be used to motivate, communicate, activate and inspire. These two film titles each offer a play on words: Connect the Drops, like connecting the dots, pieces together the impacts of climate change that seem invisible when separated. When the dots - and drops - are connected, the story of water starts to make sense. Brave Blue World, like Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, shows us an alternate reality. But rather than a dystopian future, Brave Blue World shows us a hopeful one. Through hyper-localized solutions, entrepreneurial spirit, and big ideas - the film shows how we can continue to value our most precious resource. By tying this creativity to cutting-edge entrepreneurship in manufacturing and innovation, the film invites people to understand water issues through the context of local realities in the communities that are in desperate need of solutions.
This set of films was available in our Let's Talk About Water Virtual Theatre from March 22 - April 22, 2021. You can watch Brave Blue World now on Netflix.
Connect the Drops with NASA Data
Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
About Connect the Drops with NASA Data:
Many state and federal agencies and other organizations turn to NASA research, satellite data and analytical tools to help tackle water issues. Since the 1960s, NASA has been steadily expanding its view of how fresh water moves around the planet.
Length: 3 minutes
Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Early satellites that imaged clouds and snow cover evolved to more recent missions that quantify rain and snowfall worldwide every half-hour, make daily observations of global snow cover, detect changes in aquifers deep underground, and monitor moisture in soils every few days. These observations are some of the most powerful assets scientists have when studying the water cycle, how it affects people and their water supplies, and how it may change in a warming climate.
At NASA, researchers maintain and refine these data sets, providing them to the public at no cost. NASA researchers also help to interpret the information with sophisticated computer programs that integrate the disparate data sets and fill gaps to create a coherent picture of where and how water moves around the planet every day.
Directors: François Verster, Simon Wood
Length: 11 minutes
About Brave Blue World
Brave Blue World explores the technologies and innovations that have the potential to solve the world’s water crisis. The film highlights scientific and technological advancements that have been taking place to ensure the world’s population has access to clean water and safe sanitation services and the environment is protected.
Length: 50 minutes
Director: Tim Neeves
“EVERY KID HAS HEARD OF CLIMATE CHANGE; THE FILM DEEPLY CONNECTS WITH THIS. IT MAKES WATER LOCAL —SOMETHING SO MANY OF US TAKE FOR GRANTED.”
- Liam Neeson, Actor and
Narrator of Brave Blue World
Related to Valuing Water
S2, E7: Brother Ocean, Sister Lake: Why Bodies of Water Deserve Respect and Human Rights
Dr. Kelsey Leonard, an associate professor at the University of Waterloo and member of the Shinnecock Nation, discusses how Indigenous views on the personhood of water can save that water. More and more bodies of water around the world are being granted legal personhood status, which gives them the right to be defended from industrial pollution. Dr. Leonard is fighting to make water justice a priority across government and bridge the gap between Indigenous belief and Western law.
S1, E3 & E4: Water, Peace and the Middle East (Part 1 & 2)
Host Jay Famiglietti sits down with Gidon Bromberg, co-founder and Israeli Director of EcoPeace Middle East for our first and only 2-part episode of the podcast. Bromberg comes from the most water-scarce region in the planet, where basic facts and science are so heavily politicized that it's hard to agree on them. He lays out the landscape of this conflict over water between Jordan, Israeli and Palestine people, explaining how those who often view each other as enemies are working together to deal with their immediate needs, like getting sewage treated, and how scientists are cutting through the politics to address shared water issues.
S2, E12: Liquid Assets: Water on Wall Street
Colorado water lawyer James Eklund and California water policy expert Ellen Hanak talk to Jay about the future of water -- or rather, about water futures. Water futures and securities are increasingly valuable investments. Some may feel anxiety at letting financial markets commodify such a basic human essential, but Eklund and Hanak, whose states have unique systems of water rights, say it's a legitimate resource management tool and way forward for landowners struggling to monetize their assets.
World Water Day Forum
March 22, 2021
Make World Water Day every day! Check out our LTAW Global Forum at the recorded link above. Our World Water Day Global Forum is brought to you by Let's Talk About Water and the Global Institute for Water Security at the University of Saskatchewan.
The virtual panel discussion focused on the theme 'Valuing Water' and was moderated by Jay Famiglietti, featuring esteemed panelists: Kirsten James (Ceres), Gidon Bromberg (EcoPeace Middle East), and Karen Kidd (McMaster University).