Let’s Make Waves – World Water Day 2018
Each year, March 22nd marks World Water Day, a day dedicated globally to acknowledge the importance of water. Water is not only essential for life, but it also provides a host of health benefits. As a Registered Nurse, I recognize the value of clean water for healing and health maintenance, and fully support making water protection and conservation a worldwide priority.
Water increases our energy by assisting our blood in transporting oxygen and essential nutrients to our cells. Full hydration has also been linked to reduced stress and higher mental capacity, muscle cramp prevention, healthier skin and digestive regularity. Recent studies indicate that people, who live closer to the water, on average, tend to live longer and are happier than those that do not.
In North America, we can often take our abundance of this natural resource for granted. For most of us, getting water is easy – but in other parts of the world, millions of people spend six or more hours a day trying to get enough water to survive. According to the World Health Organization, there are 2.1 billion people globally that do not have access to safe water supplies, and some of those exist in Canada. Using a source of drinking water that is contaminated with feces can put individuals at risk of contracting deadly diseases and viruses (such as cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio).
This year’s World Water Day theme is Nature for Water. It highlights the potential of nature-based solutions to overcome the vast water challenges we face today. Neglecting our ecosystems will, in turn, make it more difficult to provide clean water for survival. Nature-based solutions, such as preserving watersheds, have the potential to solve many of our water challenges. Canada’s five main ocean watersheds (also called drainage basins) include the Atlantic, the Arctic, the Gulf of Mexico, Hudson Bay, and the Pacific. Source watersheds collect, store, and filter water and provide a number of additional benefits to humans and nature. Protecting areas surrounding our water to ensure the water itself will not deteriorate should be a priority. Forest protection, reforestation, and the planting of cover crops are all strategies to protecting watershed areas, rebalancing the water cycle.
This World Water Day, let’s make a pledge to help ensure that all people have access to clean water by 2030. Small steps, like planting a tree, using a reusable water bottle, or turning off your faucet while brushing your teeth, can help to secure our future water supply. Together we can actively conserve, protect, and make healthy waves toward a sustainable future.
Dana Ryan, Newfoundland & Labrador Provincial Representative
The Canadian Holistic Nurses Association