World Water Day: Water and Jobs


Happy World Water Day from No Water No Life!

World Water Day is a day dedicated to spreading awareness of the importance of fresh water through social media, educational events, campaigns, etc. In the past, the annual themes of World Water Day included sanitation, cooperation, energy, culture and more. This year, the theme is “Water and Jobs,” focusing on the power that water and jobs have to transform people’s lives.

USA: California, Kettleman City, sign about effects of drought and no water

“Today, almost half of the world’s workers – 1.5 billion people – work in water related sectors and nearly all jobs depend on water and those that ensure its safe delivery. Yet the millions of people who work in water are often not recognized or
protected by basic labor rights.”

– United Nations Water

To find out more about World Water Day and how you can help spread awareness, you can visit the UN Water website.

White House Celebrates World Water Day – holds first White House Water Summit

by Lana McGee Straub, NWNL Guest Blogger

Leaders from across the United States will gather at the White House Tuesday, March 22, 2016, to commemorate the first ever White House Water Summit. With recent events caused by climate change and aging infrastructure, “water is a critical area of focus,” said John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Flooding in the east and drought in the west, as well as the quality crisis in Flint, Michigan has created a growing dialogue on water says Holdren. This is why the White House is hosting the first White House Water Summit. Leaders from across the United States, including tribal leaders, representatives from state and federal agencies, academia, as well as non-governmental organizations will all gather to discuss how they can work together to find innovative solutions to ensure water sustainability. “Water is a shared resource,” says Holdren. “And as such it is a shared responsibility.” These agencies are on the front lines, says Holdren, and the White House has issued a call to action for those agencies to work together to build a sustainable water future.

As part of this call to action, the President has drafted Water Resource Challenges and Opportunities for Water Technology Innovation in December 2015. Yesterday, he tackled the issue of drought and resilience by drafting the Presidential Memorandum: Building National Capabilities for Long-Term Drought Resilience. “Accompanying the memorandum,” says , Alice Hill, Senior Director for Resilience Policy, “is an action plan – that action plan guides the implementation of policy goals…it delineates 27 new activities that departments and agencies will undertake to support drought resilience within existing resources.”

“We’ve issued a call to action across all sectors to come up with solutions for water innovation, specifically to come up with ways to ensure that water is there when and where you need it,” said Ali Zaidi, Associate Director for Natural Resources, Energy and Science. Water efficiency and innovation has lagged for decades according to Zaidi. “Today we waste 7 billion gallons of water every single day that is clean and treated.” Zaidi said. “We clean it, we treat it and we lose it.”

Lost efficiency is due to aging infrastructure – leaky pipes. Zaidi says we are not investing near enough in research and development of water innovations. “Clean energy R&D gets 50 times more investment than clean water R&D. That just shows how little we’re investing in something that we clearly value and need at the end of the day,” said Zaidi. He’s excited that the budget puts 33 percent more money into water innovation. During the White House Water Summit, they will be showcasing entities outside the government who are making their own commitments to innovation, which includes $4 billion in private capital committed to water infrastructure innovation, which is slated to save over 100 billion gallons of water over the next decade.

The Water Summit will be streamed live from the website beginning at 9 a.m. EDT and can be found at

The eternal dance of water

Our waterways dance through lush green forests, industrial cities, into vast oceans, even underground and dried up river beds leave their trails as they drift across the earth, supporting all life.

Ethiopia: aerials of Lower Omo River Basin in flood stage
Ethiopia: aerials of Lower Omo River Basin in flood stage
Mexico: Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, aerial views of Old Maya canal from Gulf of Mexico into Lake Campechen. LightHawk
Mexico: Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
USA:  Louisiana, Atchafalaya Basin, Morgan City
USA: Louisiana, Atchafalaya Basin, Morgan City
Zambia, confluence of tributaries of Zambezi River, aerial view
Zambia, confluence of tributaries of Zambezi River
USA:  Louisiana, Aerial photo of Atchafalaya Basin area, St Martin Parish, electric lines and posts for old RR track on Right, next to Interstate 10 elevated highway - bridge - causewauy over Lake Henderson (aka Henderson Swamp), wetlands with bald cypress standing in water (Taxodium distichum, aka  baldcypress, bald-cypress, cypress, southern-cypress, white-cypress, tidewater red-cypress, Gulf-cypress, red-cypress, or swamp cypress), a deciduous conifer
USA: Louisiana, Atchafalaya Basin, St Martin Parish
USA  California, aerial view of confluence of San Joaquin (on R) and False River (on L), NE of Antioch
USA California, confluence of San Joaquin and False River
Namibia: Naukluft Park and mountains in Namibia Desert, aerial scenic
Namibia: Naukluft Park and mountains in Namibia Desert

Inspired by The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge – dance.

Posted by Jasmine Graf, Associate Director of No Water No Life.

In Tribute: Gary Braasch, Photojournalist of Global Warming and a Friend

This morning NWNL joins so many others in mourning the unexpected death of Gary Braasch while snorkeling at Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. He was there working on his decades-long project to photographically document the impacts of global warming and climate change.

Gary’s work can be seen on his website. His life’s work and critically important book is Earth Under Fire.

Personally stunned with sadness, I glanced through a treasury of nature writing that a friend shared with me this morning as condolence. I randomly opened to John Muir’s words after a dangerous climb on Mt Ritter in California’s High Sierras (in Words for the Wild, Sierra Club Books, 1987, page 111):

“How truly glorious the landscape circled around this noble summit! — giant mountains, valleys innumerable, glaciers and meadows, rivers and lakes, with the wide blue sky bent tenderly over them all.  But in my first hour of freedom from that terrible shadow, the sunlight in which I was lavishing seemed all in all.”

In 2003 Gary was recognized as Photographer of the Year by NANPA (The North American Nature Photography Association) for his “unquestioned skill and excellence as a nature photographer who had produced extraordinary recent work of significance to the industry.” As a member of that Awards Committee that chose him, I was stunned then by the immensity of his seemingly-impossible, self-assigned task to photograph global warming. I sought him out in the halls of NANPA’s Annual Summit before his award presentation to introduce myself and say congratulations. I was impressed then and always by his outgoing friendliness and support of other photographers, including myself, wanting to use our cameras as a tool for conservation. Gary set a high bar of standards for all conservation photographers.

Gary was determined to impress on all the impending impacts of climate change, the ever-increasing pitch of the whistle from this freight train coming down the tracks right at us. My awe of his work continued each time we met as colleagues in NANPA, the International League of Conservation Photographers and the Society of Environmental Journalists. In 2011, after attending the decommissioning of Washington’s Elwah and Glines Canyon Dams, I traveled to Portland to interview Gary for No Water No Life, puzzled that I had not done so earlier!

His words then are so relevant today – especially as we read that last week the term “climate change” was included for the first time in the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. Hopefully Gary heard that news, as well as news three days ago that his home-state of Oregon will be the first US state to cut ties with coal-fired power. Here are Gary’s clear and thoughtful remarks on “Clean Coal” that concluded our 90-minute interview in Portland (Sept 27, 2011):

People in the coal industry and the power industry talk about “clean coal.” Well, first of all, it’s just a bumper-sticker in terms of words. There’s no such thing as “clean coal.”

What they meant by “clean coal” when they started using that as an advertising campaign was that they were going to find a way to take the CO2 out of coal and put it into the ground so it didn’t get into the air. That’s all it meant.

That is still a huge engineering problem that may not be solvable; but if we can reduce the amount of CO2 from coal in any way, we should try it. I think we should keep looking into sequestering CO2 as a way of putting away and not letting it get in the air. That’s important to try.

But even when they call it “clean coal,” they’re ignoring the fact that continued mining is destroying Appalachia and parts of the West. In the process of getting this stuff out of the ground in the first place, coal mining is destroying lives and creating air and water pollution.   What can we do with the deadly emissions still coming out of coal that is burned — including mercury, CO2 and incredible pollutions from chemicals like nitrates? What can we do about the poisonous, cancer-causing and land-destroying ash waste that comes out of coal-burning power plants? It’s deadly. “Clean coal” advocates are ignoring all of that.

From the shovel, to burning coal, to getting rid of the coal ash — coal is dirty all the way through. There’s just no such thing as “clean coal.”

Thank you, Gary, for your photography, your dedication, your impact on so many of us, and your friendship.

With sadness, Alison

Happy World Wildlife Day!

World Wildlife Day

  • Raises awareness of the threat of poaching on iconic wildlife species
  • A call to action to save wildlife
  • A celebration of our planet’s species

This year, the theme of World Wildlife Day is “The Future of Wildlife is in Our Hands” with a focus on elephants.

“The theme was chosen to reinforce the link between wildlife, human activity and sustainable development, celebrating the millions of unique species that we share our home with but at the same time raising awareness about the dire situation so many of our species find themselves in.”
Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Source: World Wildlife Day – The Future is in Our Hands



FREE Hydro-graphics that You Can Use and Share!

No Water No Life created these photo-messages as a quick visual means of raising awareness of the value and vulnerability of our freshwater resources. Download and share them with others!

(click images to view larger)

View more Hydro-graphics here.

Hydro-graphics designed by Jenna Petrone.

Posted by Jasmine Graf, Associate Director of No Water No Life.