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World Water Day: Water, Climate Change and the Coronavirus

Hello, everyone! How are you all doing? Over the past couple of days, I must admit that I have spent a little too much time reading the news. I kept refreshing news sites to learn about the latest developments in the coronavirus outbreak and every couple of hours I would hear about another event being cancelled or a new impact of the coronavirus on my schooling. It was scary for me to think that all the planning and work I had done for school, AP exams and standardized tests might not be of any importance anymore. Some of that information gathering I did was positive - I learned a lot about the science of how COVID-19 compares to other viruses, etc - but it also distracted me from other important things.

That is what I am most concerned about: the coronavirus is distracting us as a global community from the ongoing climate crisis. Climate delay is almost as dangerous as climate denial.

March 22 is World Water Day 2020 - and the theme is the interface between Water and Climate Change. The word “water” may not be what immediately springs to mind when you think about climate change – but it should be. The most dramatic effect of climate change is how it impacts the water cycle. Rising sea levels, strange weather patterns and a sharp increase in natural disasters could all be in our future if we don’t take steps to stop the climate crisis. The systems we rely on: sanitation, healthcare, education, business and more all require a reliable fresh water supply. Without that, there’s no telling what could happen.

Even now, we see how water scarcity can compound already existing challenges. The best way to combat the coronavirus is to wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with clean water and soap. But what if you don’t have access to clean water? In that case, halting the spread of the coronavirus and others that might arise in the future becomes almost impossible.

Water scarcity does not happen in a vacuum - it affects everything around it. If you haven’t already, take World Water Day as a starting point for taking note of and stopping water waste around you. Remember, water conservation starts with us.

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