A Walk4Water on World Water Day
March 23, 2016 – from Mariana Versiani, Ecoloodi volunteer
Ecoloodi and Ryerson Urban Water, with financial support from CH2M Hill, organized a walk on March 22, 2016 in Toronto for World Water Day. Nearly 40 people walked 6 Km down Yonge Street, from St. Clair Station to the Waterfront, taking turns to carry water to show solidarity with the people in third world countries who don’t have easy access to fresh water.
The event invited anyone who cares about water, and the future of the world, to “walk this walk”, and celebrate water on World Water Day. The emblematic call was very simple:
“Developing nations walk on average 6 km to water every day…
… Canadians just turn on the tap!”
The response to the call was amazing! Even with the sun hidden and a freezing rain warning issued, the teams walked down Yonge Street in Walk4Water t-shirts, sharing hand-held signs and taking turns carrying 5 liters of water on their backs.
World Water Day
The World Water Day is seen as an opportunity to learn more about water, and to be inspired to take action and tell others to make a difference. The date was designated by the United Nations as a response to its 1992 Conference on Environment and Development, which recommended international water observance.
The objective of Walk4Water, in line with the objectives of World Water Day, was to raise awareness, inspire empathy and celebrate water.
Walk4Water – Awareness
In Africa and Asia, generally women and children walk an average of 6 Km to fetch water. This journey can be made multiple times a day, and doesn’t necessarily take them to clean drinkable water. That’s why they consume far less water than people in developed countries. Each day, for example, people in Benin (Africa) consume an average of 20 liters of water, while people in Canada can consume 350 liters. In addition to incorporating this important aspect in the concept of the walk, we were joined by The Water Brothers, Alex and Tyler Mifflin, and filmed by TFO to further the cause of awareness.
The water brothers distributed Walk4Water cards, and talked about what we were doing there (and why) to the people that got more curious.
Walk4Water – Empathy
The time people spend in developing countries to collect water deprives them of many things, including children of going to school. The daily labor to get water also keeps people from working. Here in Canada, we are forced to another reflection: how lucky most of us are to have safe water by simply turning on the tap – therefore, it’s our duty to use it responsibly. Walk4Water event made make people take account of these facts.
Carrying 5 liters of water and sharing hand-held signs in support of water and its responsible use brought everyone together, and inspired empathy that will surely lead to positive actions.
Walk4Water – Celebration
Walk4Water celebrated water as a precious and sacred resource. To pay respects and acknowledge its strength, participants after reaching the Waterfront, poured the 5 liters of water carried through the walk into the Ontario Lake. This act was to symbolize that water has a cycle, and always goes back to where it comes from.
The walk was concluded with hot drinks, cookies, and great conversation at La Prep (Sugar Beach – Corus Quay). The atmosphere between the participants was of complete fulfillment. They had not only accomplished the symbolic 6 Km walk challenge, but they felt the satisfaction of raising some water awareness amongst people in the streets. We hope this Walk4Water leads many more actions towards water awareness, and for World Water Day on the years to come!
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