Adrian Leong (Hong Kong, UWC AC 2010-12)
Once Upon a Time, on a Planet (that really ought to have been) called Water…
Life began in the ocean, and never would any living organisms have come into being was it not for water. It is all around us—from the physical existence of water to every day goods that utilize water in their production processes. The magical formula H2O gives water unique characteristics unmatched by other elements and substances found on Earth. Here at AC, water has even traditionally been used to celebrate one’s birthday. We all know that water is essential to life, but do we really understand how much is at stake?
This year, events related to World Water Day (WWD) were hosted by MEMS on 22nd March. The theme this year is Water for cities: responding to the urban challenge. Concerns have been raised regarding how governments, communities and organizations respond to rapid urban growth and therefore the increasing demand for water. Factories in China, for example, release fertilizers and all sorts of other chemicals into nearby streams. As a result, ‘cancer villages’ can be found along the lower portions of the Yellow River in China, where villagers are exposed to a high chance of contracting cancer. As reported by National Geographic, a woman named Wu Qiuhua looked on in despair as her father, aged 60, lied on his deathbed, ‘No matter what we do, it’s useless.’ The cost of prosperity is often overlooked, so it’s time, now, that we— as students of AC— face the hard facts and act upon them. What’s more, this is highly relevant to UWC’s mission statement to create a ‘sustainable future’.
In light of the problems faced by the ocean and mankind, MEMS held three events on World Water Day.
During break-time, we sold cupcakes and chocolate cake to fundraise for the Marine Conservation Society—an organization we work closely with which is dedicated to marine conservation, particularly the protection of the Welsh coastline. While we were selling the products from our last service session, we played the happy tune of ‘Yellow Submarine’ by The Beatles.
In the evening, a presentation regarding WWD was given before Finding Nemo and The Blue Planet were screened in the Languages department. Simultaneously, a swimming competition was held in the Indoor Swimming Pool to raise awareness and money for the same cause.
On top of these, water-themed educational posters were stuck on walls everywhere in the castle. Also, clocks will be installed in showers in different houses shortly, so that everybody will be aware of how much time they spend in the shower.
After all, the responsibility rests upon us to take this forward or not. In fact, there are countless examples of hidden water we use—did you know that the production of 1 kilogram of chocolate requires 24,000 litres of water, more than that of beef which uses 14,000 litres? We have to be cautious about water usages — by being conscious of every purchase that we make, we can reduce the amount of water used in the production of these goods
Are you ready to conserve the source of life, so that life will continue to prosper on Earth—the one and only planet whereupon living organisms can be found in the known universe?