Youth Engagement In Virtual Walk for Water (World Water Day)

world water day 2016Update Mar. 22, 2016 World Water Day 

As the privatization of water controversy makes a splash with multinational corporations like Coke and Nestle jockeying to be part of the scarcity solution, (sigh) “awareness raising” needs to go beyond “cup half empty or full” questions to massive critical thinking about interdependence and human rights.

How will we unify? Clicktivism? Petitions? Worldwide Outreach? Policy?

This “awareness raising” video asking “What is the leading cause of death in the world?” (Hint: It’s NOT war) is “must see media” for change agents everywhere…mesmerizing. Just look at the kids’ awe-struck expressions and curiosity…A shoulder shake indeed.

To add to the media knowledge pool, edublogger Larry Ferlazzo has a “teaching kids about World Water Day” mega-resource roundup and we have our own favorite find which we use in our Jr. Ad Exec media literacy games about “manufactured needs” using the Annie Leonard video The Story of Bottled Water 

Ultimately, I keep circling back to Brian Reich’s excellent query in his book, Shift and Reset asking the important questions on impact…namely…Does the one-day global event effort really “work?” 

With social media’s onslaught of multiple platforms in 2014, competing in the attention economy is challenging at best…

Does bringing people into fully focusing on a given day of high profile cause-marketing make waves for water? Or is it  just a drop in the bucket?

Your thoughts?

world-water-day.jpgOriginal Post: (5 year flashback) in my how to turn people green post I wrote about ‘Fortifido’ flavored water for dogs adding to the piles of water bottle consumption, in sharp contrast with today’s World Water Day.

Over one billion people worldwide lack clean drinking water, and today, students from John Hopkins’ Int’l studies programs and other Facebook forums will ‘walk for the cause’ in L.A., N.Y., or Seattle, or walk “virtually” for World Water Day via online event. Haven’t heard of it? You’re not alone.

Here’s a video clip, and the history behind the United Nations’ resolution of 1992, calling attention to the international plight of those in water-stressed regions who often walk six miles or more to bring water to their villages. These ‘virtual events’ are popping up all over using and a big hit with ‘couch-clickers’ using social media’s speed in “accessible activism.”

Send me your feedback on ‘virtual events’ like EarthHour.org to show ‘what one person can do,’ simply by uniting with millions in a global effort to turn out the lights and black out the planet for an hour. Does building awareness snowball into more sustainable actions and behavioral shifts? That’s the part I want to know.

How do we counter-market needless consumption altogether?

Visuals like this help to show the plastic deluge of drinking water bottles, where ‘branded’ water blights the landscape in a ‘disconnect’ for being green. Example?

ethos.jpgOne look at the participants in World Water Day reveals the Ethos Water (now Starbucks) alliance, with oh-so-sleek plastic packaging dedicated to “helping children get clean water.”

Humanitarian feel good factor+ corporate cause= higher sales. I get that.

BUT…while the marketing side of me says, “big splash for distribution and awareness” the eco-side counters, “$10 million by 2010 is a drop in the bucket; why not make the donation directly to Africa and save bottles to boot to be green?!”

One could argue kids are going to buy bottled water anyway, why not buy something that helps children, besides the cause needs the massive ‘reach’ of Starbucks’ marketing efforts on a global scale…BUT…will this give people a false sense of accomplishment while contributing to the environmental planetary problem?

Seems similar to the LiveEarth controversy about the rock star’s carbon footprints that put youth atwitter…

I’m hoping eco-youth ‘get this’ and ditch the needless consumption of plastic bottles altogether in favor of other “accessible activism.”

earth-hour.jpgSuch as? Other World Water Day conservation events and eco-focus on student actions like trashless lunches, after school eco-clubs, planting urban gardens and trees, or armchair activism that starts online and carries forward offline into action.

Join 200,000+ others as EarthHour.org asks people to turn off their lights for an hour, and maybe go for a walk under the stars. I’m up for it. You?

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