Press Release: Duncan Stewart Launches Global Action Plan’s New “Water Explorer” Initiative

Leading environmentalist Duncan Stewart, Olympic pentathlete, Natalya Coyle, and high performance swimmer Bethany Carson, today launched Global Action Plan’s innovative Water Explorer 2016 programme in the fitting surroundings of Dublin’s National Aquatic Centre. Schools around the country are being encouraged to sign up to the water conservation programme at www.waterexplorer.ie and help save the equivalent of 500 bath tubs of water in those schools taking part by June 2016.

The online initiative, supported by the HSBC Water Programme, aims to inspire pupils aged 8-14 years to take action on water conservation in a fun way. Schools are also actively encouraged to collaborate with other schools both nationally and internationally and to engage with local communities. Already 69 schools across the country have signed up with plans to triple this over the next year and to recruit over 200 water explorer teams.

Global Action Plan is Ireland’s leading environmental charity spearheading education for sustainable development in communities across the country. The programme is part of an international initiative involving 11 countries, and is endorsed by the United Nations Environment Programme.

As part of the project, schools have the opportunity to host Water Festivals and will be in the running to receive water workshops from experts as well as win exciting prizes such as digital cameras. From the entries across the nation, the top five schools will be shortlisted to attend an award ceremony in Dublin in 2016 where a national winner will be announced.

Making Every Drop Count
Leading environmentalist and ambassador for Global Action Plan’s Water Explorer programme, Duncan Stewart, believes a lot is at stake:

“We know that there are a number of threats to global water supply and that the impact of climate change means greater water scarcity and pollution. We also know that clean drinking water costs money and uses vast amounts of energy and carbon emissions to collect, treat and distribute, at which point we come full circle and have to start all over again with water all too often needlessly wasted down a drain. The truth is that, without water, there is no life. That is why we need to act now, become honest water citizens and make every drop count. I would genuinely encourage schools that want to instil in pupils a sense of accountability and critical thinking, to sign up to this programme today. By each of us making our own small but vital contribution, together we can make a big difference to the world in which we live.”

For high performance swimmer, Bethany Carson, water is the life force of the planet and it needs to be nurtured:

“Being an island nation, we perhaps take the availability of water a little for granted. In many parts of the world, the sad reality is that people often have to walk huge distances morning and night to find water—water that is often unfit for human consumption. We can play a real part in helping to change that story. By starting from the bottom up and teaching young people about how to save water, reduce its use, protect it from pollutants, and by reusing and recycling items, we can steadily begin to reduce our water impact. We can do this, so let’s get to it!”

A Cup of Tea That Isn’t!
For Olympic pentathlete, Natalya Coyle, a cup of tea is not all it seems:

“It’s clear that we live in a world where water is becoming an ever-more precious resource. I was fascinated to learn that even to make a pair of jeans it takes 10,850 litres of water, and that the amount of water that goes into making a cup of tea is, well, more than a cup of tea. I am very much looking forward to seeing the ideas that young people come up with to create awareness about the need to save water and to keep it clean. I want to say to schools, bring it on, and show us what you can do.”

Vanessa Moore, Chief Executive, Global Action Plan, believes that the programme is about creating a new generation of water-conscious citizens:

“Access to clean water is one of the most urgent problems of our time. With this programme we hope to educate pupils on the importance and value of water and that they undergo a process of personal discovery around this precious resource. There are over 20 challenges to take part in, from learning about the secret water embedded in our food to writing and performing raps about water conservation.

“Our aim is to recruit over 200 teams of water explorers, who are tasked with analysing the threats to water supply and then come up with practical ideas to protect and save water at school, at home and in their local community. The end result is, we hope, an emerging generation of water ambassadors with a deep awareness of its importance to life as we know it and the need to safeguard it for future generations.”

Did You Know? Some Fascinating Water Facts!·      Addicted to fashion? It takes 2,700 litres to make 1 cotton shirt, 8,000 litres to make 1 pair of shoes and a whopping 10,850 litres of water to make 1 pair of jeans·      Not so tasty burger? It takes 2,400 litres of water to make just 1 burger

·       More than a caffeine hit? Incredibly, it takes 130 litres to make a cup of coffee and 30 litres a cup of tea. Even a glass of drinking water takes up to 2 litres to treat before it comes through a tap

·      Boss wants a paperless office? No wonder with every 1 sheet of A4 paper costing 10 litres of water to make

·      Smiling not so brightly? Brushing your teeth with the tap on uses approximately 6 litres of water a minute

·      Feeling flush? Every time you utilise the toilet, you use approximately 10 litres of water

·      Not so revitalising? Spending a long 8 minutes in the shower? That’s 62 litres trickling away. Prefer to soak in a bath? That’s 80 litres down the drain.

The HSBC Water Programme
The HSBC Water Programme is a five-year, US$100m partnership with Earthwatch, WaterAid and WWF, three NGOs that rank amongst the world’s most respected environmental and sustainable development organisations. The programme also funds charities managing local water projects proposed by HSBC employees. These partnerships provide the necessary scale to deliver the powerful combination of water provision, protection and education; benefiting communities in need, enabling people to prosper, and driving economic development and growth.