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HomeOpinionEditorialWhat’s the hummingbird got to do with the world’s water crisis?

What’s the hummingbird got to do with the world’s water crisis?

Did you know that a group of hummingbirds can be called a shimmer, charm or bouquet?

Or that there’s an ancient story in which a hummingbird carries drops of water to put out a great fire?

The bird’s valiant story is about how we react to a crisis. How seemingly small actions can make a difference and how the hummingbird did everything she could to quell the flames.

Right now, the world is facing a water and sanitation crisis.

In 2022, the World Health Organisation revealed that 1.4 million people die annually and 74 million will have their lives shortened by diseases related to poor water, sanitation and hygiene.

Billions of people and countless schools, businesses, healthcare centres, farms and factories don’t have the safe water and toilets they need.

Tap water in more than 500 remote Indigenous communities in Australia isn’t regularly tested and often isn’t safe to drink, according to a water industry report released last November. In some communities, drinking water contained unacceptable levels of uranium, arsenic, fluoride and nitrate.

We are seriously off-track to meet Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030 – and to shift our trajectory we must accelerate change.

A Water Action Agenda is being launched at the UN 2023 Water Conference held from March 22-24 in New York – the first event of its kind for nearly 50 years. Commitments made by stakeholders who attend the conference will form the heart of the agenda to drive progress into the future.

To play your part, there’s a form online at https://www.unwater.org/bethechange/ where you can make a list of personal commitments, like:

  • Saving water by taking shorter showers and not leaving taps running.
  • Finding out where your water comes from and how it is shared.
  • Taking part in clean-ups of your local rivers, lakes, wetlands or beaches.
  • Buying local, seasonal food and looking for products made with less water.

Once lodged, your actions will be compiled with the larger-scale commitments from governments, companies, organisations, institutions and coalitions.

Teachers are also being encouraged to help children make commitments by folding origami hummingbirds, writing their commitment on their bird, and creating a local installation together. This “bouquet of hummingbirds for World Water Day” can then be photographed and sent to the UN for use in a worldwide display.

To promote World Water Day on March 22 there are social media resources online featuring a beautiful hummingbird and the campaign catchcry, “Be the change you want to see in the world”.

Water should sustain life on earth equitably. Let’s act to make it happen. Drop by drop. Bucket by bucket. Stream by stream.


See www.worldwaterday.org

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