April is Earth Month. Later this month in Athens, GWI will bring together leading thinkers and companies to talk about innovations and achievements on water issues. Each day we read about the need for new technologies, innovations and engagement to solve the world’s water challenges. At the Global Water Summit, we have the opportunity to explore how to increase the development and uptake of new solutions to the global scale.
As Chief Engineer of the Wyland Foundation, I will be attending the Summit to learn from leading thinkers and doers in the water arena and to share our insights on promoting local actions that scale up to positive global outcomes. To date, the “top-down” approach of remarkable innovations and significant investments by businesses and governments hasn’t been enough. The cumulative impacts of the behaviors and demands of 8 billion people living on the planet are still adding up to be too much. We are working at the community level to energize individuals to take practical, local “bottom-up” actions to conserve and protect water. At the Wyland Foundation, we started the U.S. National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation in 2012 to harness the influence that mayors have with city residents to adopt behaviors that benefit people and the environment. The 2015 U.S. National Water Challenge is designed to engage and educate people to adopt long-lasting behaviors, reduce environmental impacts and help their communities. The pledges are common sense actions and are not just about water; they also include reducing energy use and food waste. Imagine the outcomes when simple actions are multiplied by millions!
The complex water issues that the world faces require a diversity of approaches and collaborative actions. The rich discussions and interactions with the participants at the Global Water Summit are the much-needed catalysts for overcoming barriers to progress. – Jan Dell, Chief Engineer, Wyland Foundation