From our very first bath, we are all fascinated by water, and as we grow older it has the capacity to hold our wonder, awe and even dread. Over 70% of the surface of our planet is covered in water, which makes it an important key to understanding the earth and the creatures that inhabit it.
Water is essential for all survival. It comprises 2/3 of the human body, and every species on earth depends upon it for life. We can learn much about ourselves, each other, and the natural world by studying the ways in which this valuable natural resource is used by all forms of life. Education about water has always been important in parts of the world where climate and poverty highlight its precious nature, and indeed a knowledge of water and its ways played an important part in the lives of our own ancestors. As water management has been taken out of the control of individuals, and water courses have disappeared under layers of concrete, we in industrialised countries have gradually lost that awareness. However, climate change is now responsible for bringing it back into our consciousness, and the problems of ensuring clean water for all are no longer restricted to the poorer nations.
The River Ocean Foundation intends to add a dedicated new section to The Catalogue about climate change in the SE of England in 2006. In the meantime a good place to start enquiries is www.defra.gov.uk and www.climatechallenge.gov.uk
It is becoming more and more vital that we all know (and teach children) about the workings and importance of water in our lives, as well as ways in which we can ensure its sustainable use for coming generations.
Projects to learn about water can easily be based in the home and community, making them accessible and highly motivating, and the resources you need are often close at hand; water meters in the home, school or community centre, puddles in the garden or playground, as well as local pond, river, marsh and seashore.
The Catalogue aims to alert you to the many exciting learning possibilities in your immediate surroundings and highlight local educational opportunities available through individuals and organisations in the region. There are also education packs that provide specific material to support this work- many are listed by subject matter in Useful Publications, as well as more generally under Educational Materials in the Resources section.