LEARN

Projects of this nature take the hard work of volunteers, contributions from supporters and participation form people who are willing to carry the message. The following individuals and groups assisted in the creation of the We Are Water documentary film at the centerpiece of our mission.

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS

  • Jill Heinerth
  • Robert McClellan

ORIGINAL SCORE

Xavier Fleuranceau

CO-PRODUCERS

  • Dan’s Dive Shop
  • Great Lakes Technical Divers
  • Light Monkey
  • Renata Rojas

SUPPORTERS

  • Christian Clark
  • Layne Fleuranceau
  • Brian Kakuk
  • Marc Laukien
  • Kristine & Murrey Olmsted
  • Tom Rae
  • Riana Treanor
  • Jan, Steve, Matt & Holly Jang
  • Bob and Mary Rabjohn
  • Gord, Kelley & Cori Rabjohn

UNDERWATER TALENT

  • Graham and Lila Maddocks
  • Martha McCullough
  • Barbara Wynns

ASSOCIATE PRODUCER

  • Megan Cook
  • Stuart Grinde
  • Daniel Tomosovich

ENVIRONMENTALISTS

  • Carlos Fonseca
  • Annette and Mark Long
  • Matt Mandziuk
  • Ocean Support Foundation
  • John Sapp
  • Joseph Sferrazza
  • Triangle Diving, Bermuda

DIVE SUPPORTER

  • Aquatica
  • Kenny Broad
  • Captain Don’s Habitat
  • Jack Chalk
  • Alberta Underwater Council
  • G&S Watersports
  • Hollis
  • Brian Nadwidny
  • ORIS Watches
  • Santi
  • Scuba Diving Magazine
  • Perry Smith
  • Ursuit
  • VR Technology
  • Waterproof
  • Chris Wickman

ADVOCATES

  • Stephanie Benincasa
  • Carmine Benincasa
  • Chris Corfield
  • Alex Djermanovic
  • Natasa Djermanovic
  • Kevin Frillman
  • MichaelAngelo Gagliardi
  • Zelda Gagliardi
  • General Ecology
  • Randy Kliewer
  • Lora Laffan
  • Richard Moccia
  • Beth and Jerry Murphy
  • Ocean Quest Dive Center
  • Gene Page
  • Pacific Pro Dive
  • Wendy Quimby
  • Jason Sapp
  • Lana Taylor
  • Wendy Thurman

SUPER HEROES

  • Aqua Sport Scuba
  • “Bear” Rae Olmsted
  • Dawn & April Bencze
  • Rich Best
  • Bird’s Underwater
  • Sharron Britton
  • John Buxton
  • Shannon and Ken Caraccia
  • John Cheeseman
  • Joel and Jacki Clark
  • Bill Coltart
  • Vlada Dekina
  • Delmont UMC
  • Dive Outpost
  • Luigi Di Raimo
  • JoAn & Derek Ferguson
  • Sam Gillis
  • Grant Graves
  • Richard Harris, MD
  • Adrian Hartley
  • Lee Ann Hughes
  • Eiko Jones
  • Larry Kalyniak, PhD
  • Marian Lane
  • Carol Lippincott
  • Cathy Lesh
  • John Minigan
  • Sharon Morgan
  • Bill and Tonya Nadeau
  • Niagara Divers Association
  • Lisa J Norelli, MD
  • Diana and Bill Oestreich
  • Renee Power
  • Luigi Di Raimo
  • Wendy J Richards
  • Jeff Rose
  • Stu Seldon
  • Dave Serafine
  • Sean Sexsmith
  • Suzanne Sferrazza
  • Jeff Shirk
  • Phil Short
  • Giovanni Soleti
  • Jim Stevenson
  • Sunken Treasure Scuba
  • Matthew Sypherd
  • Bonnie Toth
  • Wendy & Frank VanVliet
  • Lee Ann Waggener
  • Heidi Wallace
  • Jeanie Weimer
  • Tom Wilson
  • Cindy Wolff
  • Pam Wooten

HEROES

  • Sara Calvin
  • Cuyler
  • Eric Deister
  • Jeffrey Fossmo
  • Dmitri Gorski
  • Emily Greer
  • Wendy Grossman
  • Keene Heywood
  • Rick Kilby
  • Rita Lemgruber
  • Ken Mayer
  • Janine McKinnon
  • W Roderick O’Connor
  • Chris Parker
  • Karen Peist
  • Jim “Robbo” Robinson
  • Gerald Sliker
  • Mark Stringer
  • Julianne Ziefle

FRIENDS

  • Barbara Am Ende
  • Henrik Aronson
  • Kim Cavanaugh
  • Robert Cook
  • Kent Frazier
  • John Groff
  • John Hill
  • Robert H. Hughes
  • Jim Louvau
  • Jenn Macalady
  • Michael Myrick
  • Robert Osborne
  • Brian Rossman
  • Peter & Nancy Williams
  • Michael & Jennifer Wyman

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Marco Alvarez
  • Ronald Apple
  • Chris Clark
  • Jason Cook
  • Richard Dreher
  • Lesley Gamble
  • Matthew Harris
  • Gal Haspel
  • John Moran
  • Lance and Jessica Nelson
  • Luke & Ben Nelson
  • Matthew Pence
  • Janet Schmidt
  • Mary Slusarchuk
  • Christopher Stonestreet
  • Daphne Haspel Soares

THE FUTURE

  • Tzur Haspel Soares
  • Catherine Maddocks

Changing Salinity in Arctic Waters

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Immense ‘dome’ of fresh water bulging atop Arctic Ocean off Alaska

Doug O’Harra

CPOM scientists have discovered that the freshwater stored in the western Arctic Ocean has increased by 8000 km3 between the mid 1990s and 2010. Credit: UCL – ESA – PVL

Enough extra fresh water to just about fill lakes Michigan and Huron to the brim has collected in the top layers of the Arctic Ocean northeast of Alaska during the past decade, according to new research published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Driven largely by strong winds and an immense circular current, some 8,000 cubic kilometers of fresh water have bulged up into a widespread dome since the 1990s.

“In the western Arctic, the Beaufort Gyre is driven by a permanent … wind circulation. It drives the water, forcing it to pile up in the centre of gyre, and this domes the sea surface,” lead author Katharine Giles with the Centre for Polar Observation in London, told BBC news in this detailed and graphically illustrated story.

Giles and her four-member team monitored changes in the height of the sea surface between the mid 1990s and 2010 using the Eurorpean Space Agency satellites EFS-2 and Envisat. They found that the overall level in the Beaufort Sea and Canadian Basin has been rising about 2 centimeters per year, mostly during the 2000s.

 “This increase in fresh water corresponds to an increase in the anti-cyclonicity (clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere) of the wind over the western Arctic,” they explained in this story posted by the Polar Observation center.

 “Models had suggested that the action of the wind on the sea surface could cause a raised dome of freshwater to form in the middle of the Beaufort Gyre, but until now there had been no continuous observations of sea-surface height to categorically demonstrate this.”

A reversal of the wind could prompt a release of this fresh water into the rest of the Arctic Ocean or even into the Pacific and Atlantic, the scientists noted.

That’s not all. The scientists also found that the sea surface height didn’t always match the behavior of the wind — leading them to speculate that sea ice tweaks the pattern and changes the freshwater build-up in ways that still need to be analyzed.

“We were surprised to find that our results also suggested that something else was going on,” Giles said here. “One idea is that sea ice forms a barrier between the atmosphere and the ocean. So, as the sea-ice cover changes, the effect of the wind on the ocean might also change.”

There’s actually an ocean of freshwater perpetually sloshing around atop the Arctic Ocean — coming from river runoff, precipitation, evaporation, melting of sea ice and glaciers, and the complex interchange with the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, the authors explained.

“More than 70,000 cubic kilometers of freshwater are stored in the upper layer of the Arctic Ocean, leading to low salinities in upper-layer Arctic sea water, separated by a strong (boundary) from warm, saline water beneath,” the scientists wrote.

How much is that? About 16,800 cubic miles — enough to fill six Lake Superiors.

Where that water flows and how it interacts with sea life and the warmer, saltier water beneath is critical to Arctic oceanography. A different group of researchers reported in Nature a few weeks ago that the central Beaufort Sea was the freshest it’s been in 50 years, with most of the additional water coming from Eurasian river runoff — not ice melt.

“A hemisphere-wide phenomenon — and not just regional forces — has caused record-breaking amounts of freshwater to accumulate in the Arctic’s Beaufort Sea,” wrote Sandra Hines of the University of Washington in this story.

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Water Change in the Arctic

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How Climate Change Affects Water in the Arctic

Right now the permafrost is changing fast in the Arctic and will likely shrink more than 10% in the next 20 years with the permafrost borders shifting up to 200 km northward. Where permafrost is present, the ground is frozen up to 500 m deep with only the top meter thawing in summer. That means that lakes, rivers and wetlands in the Arctic do not generally connect with the  groundwater. Surface water is abundant in summer offering breeding grounds for  fish, birds and mammals. That paradigm is changing fast.

When surface water disappears, it affects breeding animal populations and humans who also rely on it for survival.  Therefore, it is imperative that we study the impacts of climate change on general water security in the Arctic.

As the climate warms, natural sources of water and water infrastructure are both affected. Communities and support structure built on permafrost may have to move. Sanitation facilities may also be affected and can contaminate clean water sources if not contained properly.

Water quality is also being impacted adversely as mankind industrializes parts of the Arctic with mining and energy operations. Pollutants are released into the pristine natural environment. Natural pollutants are also released as the permafrost melts. Greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere by thaw and flooding, when lowlands are swamped from sea level rise and erosion is increased.

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Touch Tanks

By | All Posts, Sedna Expedition, Underwater Photo and Video, We Are Water, Women Underwater | No Comments

Ruby Banwait our Chief Scientist has brought along mini-aquariums that can be set up at locations along our route. At each community we fill the aquariums with sea water and then go on a collecting dive, bringing back a variety of animals for a short vacation in our tank. The tanks are set up so that one is at eye level for small kids and another is easy to reach into. We show the kids how to gently hold some of the critters and teach them about how they eat and feed. We also share messages about keeping the ocean clean and protecting the habitat for sea life. Ruby is also teaching the team the fun stories we can share to inspire, gross out, and engage the children.

At the end of the activities, we have a release party where the kids help us bag up the animals and return them to the sea. The bits of garbage we collected underwater are disposed of properly and hopefully a seed is planted to prevent future litter.

The experience of working with the kids is moving. They are so enthusiastic about learning and many left us email contact information so we can keep in touch and perhaps pair them with girls in other parts of the world.

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Goodbye Nain, Labrador

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The next stage of our journey begins. We leave Nain, Labrador on the MV Cape Race and head north. The experience here in Nain has been incredible. I think all of us would agree that it exceeded our wildest imaginations. We wanted to tread very lightly and not make any assumptions about storming in with education for the community. Our fears were alleviated immediately. Everyone was eager to learn more about what we were doing. The community gathers around the pier to fish and hang out. They were keen to bring their children to learn about the residents of our fish tanks and talk about scuba, the ocean and the geography of our trip plans ahead. In turn we learned about the Inuktituk names and legends associated with certain marine life. We listened to stories about what was part of the food supply and what was not. We learned about a beautiful way of life that involves a high emphasis on family and community activities. The children are smart, curious and warm and we could not have had a better launch for the Sedna Expedition.

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For the first time in history, fresh water has become a finite resource. Many experts agree that, without significant changes in water policy, wars of the 21st century may be fought, not over oil, but for control of clean water. We Are Water is an imaginative, entertaining, and enlightening documentary, illustrating the fragile relationship between our planet’s endangered fresh water resources, and the ever increasing needs of our expanding population.

ANCHOR SPONSOR

HOW TO HELP

IN THE BATHROOM

  • Turn off water while brushing teeth – save 360 liters per week
  • Fix a dripping tap – save 300 gallons per year
  • Reduce shower form seven to four minutes – save 60 liters each time
  • Install low flow shower head – save 11 liters per minute, 750 gallons/month
  • Install dual flush toilet – save 50% each flush
  • Put a plug in basin while shaving – 9 liters per minute
  • Capture shower water for the garden
  • Flush less – save 2 to 7 gallons each time
  • Put a brick in the toilet tank – save a liter each flush
  • Turn off water while you shampoo and condition your hair – save 50 gallons a week Pee while you shower!

IN THE KITCHEN

  • Turn off water while cleaning up the kitchen – save 100 gallons per week
  • Buy a water efficient dishwasher – save 50% each time
  • Only wash a full load of dishes – save 120 gallons per month
  • Use economy setting on dishwasher – save 4 liters
  • Compost instead of using your garbage disposal – save 9 liters per minute
  • Catch running water while it warms up
  • Plug the sink to rinse dishes or veggies
  • Defrost the night before instead of using running water 
  • Use a wash basin in sink, then recycle water to the garden
  • Fix a drip – save up to 75 liters a day
  • Save cold water in the fridge instead of running the tap
  • Become a part time vegetarian
  • Eat less meat Install a low flow faucet – save 50% of your water use
  • Buy WaterSense appliances
  • Use veggie rinse water on plants
  • Reuse the same drinking glass all day
  • Soak and scrape pots and pans rather than running water
  • Reuse veggie cooking water for tasty soup stock

IN THE LAUNDRY

  • Use a water efficient washing machine – save 30 gallons every load
  • Only wash a full load of laundry – saves 10 liters
  • Consider installing a grey water system to recycle laundry water
  • Pretreat stains so they only get washed once
  • But EnergyStar appliances
  • Use natural soap nuts instead of detergent
  • Attach a hose to your washing machine outlet pipe for use in the garden

AT HOME

  • Use old fish tank water on plants
  • Teach kids to turn off faucets properly
  • Reduce the distance from the water heater to the sink
  • Try on-demand water heaters for the shower or kitchen Insulate hot water pipes to retain heat
  • Look for EPA WaterSense labels
  • Drink tap water
  • Avoid putting medications in the toilet
  • Avoid putting chemicals in the toilet or down the sink
  • Don’t put fat and grease down the sink
  • Mix it with bird seeds and invite birds to your garden
  • Buy a used car. It takes 120,000 to make a new one
  • Reuse clothing. It takes 1800 gallons to make a pair of blue jean
  •  Drive less. It takes 70 gallons of water to produce one gallon of gas.
  • Give $15 to CharityWater.org so someone in the developing world can have a clean water supply.
  • Ride your bicycle instead of driving.
  • Think before you buy. Is there something you can recycle or reuse?  

IN THE YARD

  • Irrigate early or late but not in the sunny part of the day
  • Avoid irrigating on windy days
  • Use less fertilizer
  • Create more shade in your yard to retain moisture in your plants and lawn
  • Use rain barrels
  • Eliminate herbicides
  • Pull weeds instead of using RoundUp
  • Replace part of the lawn with pebbles
  • Plants more shrubs Mulch and compost your garden
  • Use old blankets, carpet or cardboard in between crop rows for weed barriers
  • Group veggies in your garden by water needs
  • Mulch the garden to reduce evaporation – reduces watering 70%
  • Aerate and spike lawns in the spring for deep roots and drought tolerance
  • Check the pool for leaks – 500 liters per day
  • Cover the pool or hot tub (or just get rid of it)
  • Don’t trim the grass too short – longer needs less water
  • Plant drought resistant native plants
  • Direct rain gutters to plants that need it
  • Pee in the yard
  • Cover rain barrels
  • If you irrigate on a timer, install a rain shutoff
  • Pee in your compost pile
  • Direct the air conditioner drips to plants that need it
  • If you have to water, use drip irrigation
  • Check outdoor taps for leaks – save 1000 liters per year
  • Water the garden with a trigger nozzle not a sprinkler
  • Use a bucket and sponge to wash the car
  • Go to a car wash that reuses water
  • Wash your car on the lawn 
  • Collect rainwater for the garden
  • Sweep the driveway instead of hosing it down
  • Look for leaks – check water meter for two hours during no consumption period
  • Add walkway pavers and patio areas and let them runoff to garden
  • Plant more shrubs and ground cover to reduce the lawn
  • Water plants deeply but less often to improve drought tolerance
  • Learn where your master water shutoff valve is located
  • Let your lawn go dormant Wash the dog on the grass  

AT SCHOOL

  • Report leaking taps and toilets to teachers – save 300 gallons
  • Nominate a water monitor to look for leaks
  • Put up posters to remind each other to turn off taps
  • Wash art supplies in a recycled ice cream container
  • Learn how to monitor the water meter
  • Ask your science teacher to help locate your watershed
  • Use less paper
  • Learn how to read a water meter

AT THE OFFICE

  • Wash dishes once at the end of the day
  • Appoint a daily dish washer
  • Upgrade to dual flush toilets
  • Talk about water conservation measures in staff meetings
  • Use less paper
  • Determine if there is a way to reuse water at your business
  • Conduct a water audit of your company
  • Use a refillable water bottle for drinking

ON VACATION

  • Reuse hotel towels
  • Drink tap water if safe
  • Use a refillable water bottle
PROTECT OUR FUTURE

DRINK TAP WATER – Be an example for others. Disposable water bottles waster water and money. It takes 5 quarts to make one bottle of water and a quarter of a bottle of oil to make, transport and dispose of the water. Refill a water bottle and drink safe, clean tap water. You’ll save money.

REDUCE YOUR WATER FOOTPRINT – Click on this site: Water Footprint Calculator to learn about how much water is needed to support your lifestyle. The average American needs 1800 gallons of water per day, twice as much as the rest of the planet. This will help you reduce your use.

REDUCE, REUSE AND RECYCLE – Basic conservation helps save water. Turn off running taps. Shop at a thrift store. Stream movies. Download music instead of buying CDs. Shop at bulk stores with less packaging. Carry re-useable shopping bags.
EAT LOW ON THE FOOD CHAIN – Plant based nutrition requires less water than meat to bring to market. Consider being at least a part time vegetarian. A simple hamburger takes over 600 gallons to produce. Support your local farmer’s market.

THINK ABOUT THE WORLD BENEATH YOUR FEET – Everything you do on the surface of the land will be returned to you in drinking water. Dispose of things such as household chemicals and prescription drugs properly or you will be drinking them later.

Download cool activities for kids aged 7-14!

Junior-Ranger-Booklet