March 22 marks the United Nations’ World Water Day celebration, designed as an opportunity to learn more about water related issues from around the world – and why water conservation is so important. Water is always on Michiganders’ minds (we’re the Great Lakes State, after all!) and with the Flint water crisis dominating the headlines, it’s never been more important to talk about what we can do to make sure our water is clean and safe.
The first World Water Day took place on March 22, 1993, after a recommendation from the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. UN-Water, which coordinates the UN’s water and sanitation efforts, chooses a theme each year to address current and future challenges. This year’s theme is “Water and Jobs,” focusing on the fact that half of all workers on Earth are employed in water-related sectors. By recognizing these workers and ensuring their ongoing protection, the UN hopes to achieve their tagline of “Better water, better jobs.” Michigan residents can definitely relate to that!
Michigan depends on the Great Lakes not only for drinking water but also for trade, industry, food, and so much more. Our livelihood has relied on the lakes since the very first human inhabitants made their home here. In 2008, the adoption of the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact aimed to ensure the health of the lakes for future generations. Michigan, along with Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, pledged to work together to make decisions about the use of Great Lakes water, setting standards for cleanliness, treatment, and conservation.
Just try to imagine Michigan without the Great Lakes – it’s impossible! We wouldn’t be a “mitten” without them, nor would we have the rich and varied history that centuries of exploration, innovation, and industry have brought us. Take a second today to be thankful for the Great Lakes and all they do for our state!
What do you plan to do to celebrate World Water Day? Let us know in the comments!