Thursday, March 21, 2013

Everyone has to go – except Matt Damon, that is.

Tomorrow, March 22 is World Water Day.

This arrived in my inbox last week. 

This is using the power of celebrity (and totally-over-the-top silliness) to increase awareness about a serious issue.  Strike on, I say.

Every 21 seconds, a child dies from diarrhea. (from

I hadn't realized that Matt Damon was co-founder of Water.Org, an organization that raises awareness and money to improve access to clean water for millions of people in Central America, Africa and Asia. looks to do this through financial support, local involvement, and sustainable technology.

It is estimated that nearly 10% of the global disease burden could be reduced through improved water supply, sanitation, hygiene, and water resource management. (from

In addition to developing clean water supplies, is increasing education about sanitation issues.  Improper, or total lack of waste disposal, especially human waste, is a major factor contributing to contaminated water, which in turn causes disease such as cholera, typhoid and typhus.

90% of the deaths due to diarrheal diseases are children under 5 years old, mostly in developing countries. (from

Check out’s website for loads of resources to support informing and teaching about global water issues.  One page includes lesson plans  for elementary, junior and senior high levels.  These include correlation to American curriculum standards, information about water issues and activities.

People living in informal settlements (i.e. slums) often pay 5-10 times more per liter of water than wealthy people living in the same city. (from

These issues are of such importance that the United Nations has designated March 22nd as World Water Day, a  day to raise awareness about global issues related to clean water and accessibility (or to lack of access, as the case may be).  This year’s focus is on cooperative management of water resources.

If you’re looking for a good resource for the classroom check out Poop Happened!: a History of the World from the Bottom Up by Sarah Albee.  This is a well-written historical account of the impact of sanitation issues on humans and development on civilization.  Her focus is primarily on Europe and North America.  The tone is somewhat jocular but conveys a great deal of information best suited for upper elementary and junior high students (grades 5/6 to 9).

Also, look for Toilets of the World by Morna Gregory and Sian James. This is a pictorial waltz through bathrooms from around the world giving us the good, the bad and the ugly not to mention very strange.  I blogged about this one sometime ago.  

Strike On!


Gael said...

CAWST (the Centre for affordable Water and Sanitation Technology, similar to Matt Damon's site but is based out of Calgary.

They also supply lesson plans for all grades ( but they are based on the Alberta Program of Studies. If you wish, their staff will come into your classroom to make presentations about water and its availability/use around the world.

Tammy Flanders said...

Wow. This is great. I didn't know about CAWST. Thanks very much for writing in to let me know.

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