Changing the World…. One Project at a Time: The Importance of Water
EA/UNCW Think-Care-Act Project Partnership.
EA/UNCW Think-Care-Act Project Partnership.
Dr. Elizabeth O. Crawford, an education professor at University of North Carolina Wilmington, and Susan Gelber Cannon, a middle school teacher, author, and developer of Think-Care-Act Projects, are pleased to present our second collaborative year of sharing Think-Care-Act-Projects [TCAP]. Our EA/UNCW Think-Care-Act Project Partnership allows Episcopal Academy sixth graders and Dr. Crawford’s senior UNCW pre-service education majors to consider personal qualities and talents, identify passions for social change, and act to change the world for the better. Through video sessions, my students and those of Dr. Crawford have inspired and encouraged each other to make a difference.
Below, and for the next few blog postings, you will read future teachers’ guest blogs about their TCAPs, with links for research and teaching suggestions. Happy reading and thinking, caring, and acting!—Sue Cannon
THE IMPORTANCE OF WATER: Think-Care-Act Project
By Aspen Allen, Cara Comer, Elisabeth Sprague, and Karlie Wright
University of North Carolina at Wilmington, May 2016
The Importance of Water
We are Elementary Education majors at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. For our social studies methods course, we all took part in a service project, referred to as the “Think, Care, Act Project” (TCAP). Together we worked towards saving the water that is polluted as well as the water that is purified.
Water is the most important resource on the planet. We use water to cook, swim, drink, clean, and survive. However, one out of every ten people does not have access to clean and safe water. When clean water becomes scarce, diseases are more likely to spread. In fact, according to The Water Project, one out of every five children dies due to a water-related illness (Water Project, 2014). Education becomes more elusive because schools cannot stay open if they cannot provide access to water for students, staff and family (Water Project, 2014). Hunger increases because without water things such as livestock, gardens, fresh fruits and vegetables become scarce, resulting in hunger. When all of these things combine, poverty takes over. This becomes a vicious cycle for many generations.
Over the years, marine pollution has also become a problem in our world (EPA, 2015). Eighty percent of marine pollution comes from a land-based source, which illustrates that each consumer impacts our waters (NOAA, 2016). Marine pollution consists of harmful chemicals and particles and industrial, agricultural, and residential wastes (NOAA, 2016). More than one-third of the waters of the United States are affected by coastal pollution (NOAA, 2016). In our country, forty percent of our population lives on the coastline near polluted waters. The constant rising sea level, climate change, and growing population are causing quite a challenge for our coast (NOAA, 2016).
One of the biggest sources of marine pollution is called nonpoint source pollution due to runoff. Nonpoint source pollution includes runoff from septic tanks, cars, trucks, and boats, plus larger sources, such as farms, ranches, and forest areas (EPA, 2015). Millions of motor vehicle engines drop small amounts of oil each day onto roads and parking lots, which then wash into the sea after rains. The worst type of pollution to the marine environment is fertilizer and pesticides (EPA, 2015). These toxins come from soil that runs off from farms into rivers and eventually into oceans.
Nonpoint source pollution can make river and ocean water unsafe for humans and wildlife (EPA, 2015). In some areas, this pollution is so bad that it causes beaches to be closed after rainstorms (NRDC, 2016). Water pollution also consists of many kinds of trash that is thrown away. The top most commonly found objects include fishing nets, cigarette butts, plastic bottles, plastic bags, drinking straws, aluminum cans, bottle caps, food wrappers, and glass bottles (Olley, 2014). Ocean pollution also consists of industry and farm run offs including chemicals, pesticides, and waste (Hubpages, 2015). Sewer systems, septic tanks and oil spills are also being dumped into the ocean daily (Hubpages, 2015).
Thankfully there are several organizations today that make it their goal to keep pollution out of the water. One organization that makes a positive difference is the Freshwater Society (Freshwater Society, 2016). This organization was initiated in 1968 and strives to educate people about water pollution and how to preserve clean water. They accept members and donations to help them spread their messages. The Freshwater society focuses on helping people understand how to protect, enhance, and restore freshwater sources (Freshwater society, 2016).
Other than donating to organizations that work towards providing clean water, people can do simple tasks to help keep pollution out of the water. To keep plastic out of the ocean, people can reduce how much plastic they use. They can buy reusable shopping bags to use repeatedly thus diminishing the use of plastic bags. Plastic bags too often end up in the ocean and contribute to water pollution (Skye, 2016). To help with the trash debris in waterways, the most beneficial and easy action to stop littering. If litter is spotted in a public place, picking it up and disposing of it properly lessens the chance of it ending up in the ocean. Beach clean-ups can be held with the help of family, friends, or even organizations (Skye, 2016).
To help keep chemicals and oils from being released into our oceans, people can also take action. One simple way to help is to dispose of chemicals properly (Skye, 2016). People have many ordinary chemicals in their households, like bleach or paint. To avoid disposing of those chemicals in an unethical or unecological way, people should call a local chemical recycling resource to know what action they need to take to dispose of their chemicals safely. Many communities have safe disposal options that scheduled regularly. Oil pollution in the water is another substance that humans can do their part to prevent. Automotive oil can leak and runoff to waterways. This is a problem when there are millions of cars on the road. Keeping machinery in good working order will help decrease the chances of oil making its way to the ocean (Skye, 2016).
Aspen: I took action by doing multiple beach cleanups; using reusable grocery bags instead of plastic bags; convincing my friends, siblings, and parents to purchase reusable grocery bags; continuing recycling; and using Tupperware containers instead of Ziploc bags. I also informed my friends and family of the dangers of plastic bags and shared eye-opening statistics with them about marine pollution. In addition, I keep the beaches in my hometown clean and volunteer for the Sea Turtle Sanctuary in my hometown to keep these turtles clear of dangerous pollution on the beach as they make their way home to the ocean after breaking out of their shells.
Karlie: I took action by participating in beach cleanups and reducing the amount of plastic products I use. I raised awareness by teaching a lesson to my first grade students about the dangers of pollution. Through my church, I also lead a second grade small group, and we will be hosting a beach sweep.
Elisabeth: One action I took was at the restaurant I work in. My coworkers and I were constantly throwing away items that could have been recycled. I encouraged recycling by placing a recycling bin next to our trashcan. My motive was to lessen the amount of trash that ends up making its way to the water. I purchased reusable bags at TJ Maxx for just ninety-nine cents each to avoid contributing to the number of plastic bags that end up in the water. I also taught a second grade class a lesson on water pollution and shared with them the causes and solutions to it. After I taught the lesson, I had students create an advertisement on what to do to prevent water pollution.
A student’s advertisement from the water pollution lesson!
Second Grade Beach Cleanup in Impact Zone
- Information on Think-Care-Act Projects:
Five Reasons We are All Connected to Oceans | The Nature Conservancy. (2016). Retrieved March 20, 2016, from
Freshwater Society (2016). Our society. Retrieved from http://freshwater.org/about-the-society/
Skye, J (2016). How to stop water pollution. Retrieved April 7, 2016 from http://greenliving.lovetoknow.com/How_to_Stop_Water_Pollution
Sources of Beach Pollution. (2015). Retrieved April 01, 2016, from http://www.epa.gov/beach-tech/sources-beach-pollution
The water project. (2014, August 12). Facts and Statistics about Water and Its Effects. Retrieved March 23, 2016, from https://thewaterproject.org/water_stats
Water Pollution. (2016). Retrieved April 01, 2016, from http://www.nrdc.org/water/oceans/ttw/faq.asp