Water is one of the most prominent ways we feel global warming and climate crises. Over 90% of climate change related disasters occur through water, according to United Nations. How are the challenges addressed in different countries? Who is in the room talking about solutions and what is it that they are representing?
During the first day of the COP25, the side event “Water & Climate change: private actors engagement and community mobilization to promote low carbon” was full of people willing to hear examples, explanations, information, solutions… The speakers were representing solutions from Mexico, Taiwan and Columbia. The speaker’s in that particular event were: Unyime Robinson, Executive Director of Water Safety Initiative Foundation; Kai Zimmerman, President of Zenega Foundation, Shan Shan Guo, Vice President of Delta Electronics Foundation, Representative of International Water Association and the Representative of Groundwater.
The speakers were very sincere, and at some point, you could hear them speaking not as if they are the ones that will make solutions, but the ones that actually are wanting to find them just as much as anyone of us in the audience or in our homes are. It left me wondering: who is actually working on the solutions right now? Who has the power? Who knows more?
Taiwan Association of Sustainable Ecological Engineering Development was presenting JW technology for water preservation and was introducing an interesting “innovation” they have created. It mimics the “nature’s way” when it comes to drought and flooding. In urban areas roads present a block between the rainwater and the earth, and create the need to drain the water from the streets after rain. That water becomes practically useless. The system they have created, however, creates living streets, where water is collected right underneath the rods, preventing a flood, and in case of drought can be used for agriculture or even drinking. If you want to take a pilot project to your country, please check out their website.
To the question of “Who do you think is the most important shareholder in Climate action, to solve the water challenges?” the answers were:
Media and communication: It is very important how we, the ones that witness, the ones that have the data, the ones in the position of communication communicate urgency to the public.
Community: a tremendous change has been seen by the community involvement, so as long as they stand up, the solutions will follow.
Private Sector: The power is in the hands of the businesses. If they want to produce well, waste less and be more eco-friendly, many of the problems will disappear.
Rethinking the system will be the most important action: Changing the way we build, we think, we educate. We must think the in “nature’s way” and adapt to it.
To the question of whether or not the governments have done enough, here are the answer of the speakers.
It is a very complex issue and it is hard to say. What is clear is that the more things need to be done in managing wastewater, distributing clean water equally across communities, and it is also a matter of everyone participating. No stakeholder alone can do enough.
Sometimes the government wants to implement a solution in a legal framework, but they fail because the power is in the hands of big companies or of the private sector. This is why we shall involve at least two of them together.
The governments have attempted and do attempt, but sometimes it is hard for them too.
Me, as a young social entrepreneur, who is deeply concerned about water challenges, wanted to know. “What kind of collaboration are we talking about? Who do we want to collaborate with when we are in a position of power and tools? What can a young person do if she/he wants to get involved and co-create the solution to our planet’s issues?”
Susana Velez Haller, a portfolio manager from South Pole (www.southpole.com ), mentioned that they actually do want to get engaged with you, offer them an internship, intra-entrepreneurship and other opportunities. I will be meeting with her one of these days to discuss more.