A citizen science revolution?
At World Water Week, our lead research scientist Professor Steven Loiselle, spoke at numerous seminars to share the achievements of you, our FreshWater Watch citizen scientists, with leaders and experts in freshwater research and protection.
Some of the water challenges
The world’s population stands at approximately 7.2 billion, and is set to rise to 9 billion by 2050. Half of these people face living in water scarce areas.
The rate and way in which we currently use water is unsustainable, because our water sources don’t have time to regenerate or cope with pollutants before we make more demands of them again. This is leading to environmental degradation, the scale of which and exact causes we can’t pin down without data and research. Ecosystems, vital for water distribution and millions of species of life, especially many wetlands have been pushed beyond the threshold at which they can recover without further human intervention.
To put it simply, we turn water into wastewater, faster than the wastewater can be restored back to water.
But there are solutions
One of the most important messages of World Water Week was that we have the skills and know-how to protect and improve our water, now is the time to put these into action.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals, 169 targets for a more sustainable planet, gave us the framework now we all have to work together to achieve it. It will involve compromises on all sides, but it is important that we’re all working towards the same goals.
For large entities this means intergovernmental collaboration, forming partnerships between businesses and NGOs, international agreements and grassroots actions by individuals…that’s where citizen science comes in.
Citizen science bring people into the equation, and gives them the power to get involved and make changes happen. FreshWater Watch water quality monitoring lets people learn about the challenges and be part of the answer to the problems, locally and on a global scale.
FreshWater Watchers are helping their families and communities to be less impactful on the environment as well as helping science to fill important information gaps to move towards a more sustainable future.
Is it a citizen science revolution?
We have degraded our environment with incremental steps in the wrong direction, so we can make positive changes in the right direction to restore it. FreshWater Watch citizen science connects more than 8,000 people around the world and the community is growing. It is incremental, grass roots activism and it is the future in our information-thirsty world.