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.
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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

Last Ice

By | All Posts, Arctic, Royal Canadian Geographical Society, We Are Water | No Comments

Reprinted from DIVER Magazine: Volume 42, October 2017 – Diving the Transitional Environments of Bylot Island by Jill Heinerth

Under the pale light of the Arctic summer night, I return to the edge of the ice floe to watch yesterday’s dive site disappear on the horizon. The iceberg that was lodged in sea ice has broken free and begun a journey to its demise as it heads out of the mouth of Eclipse Sound. Yesterday’s exploratory dive will never be seen by anyone else.

In 2000, I led a National Geographic diving team to make the first cave dives inside the largest piece of ice ever seen on our planet. The B-15 iceberg had calved from the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica, and we were drawn to explore this gargantuan portent to global climate change. When I wrote the script for my first documentary film, Ice Island, I was warned that politically charged terms like “climate change” and “sea level rise” might limit the acceptance of our film. I was told that without scientific credentials, any claims regarding “unproven science” were a bad idea.

Thanks to support from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, I am making that untenable leap again as an artist documenting our transient cryosphere. It is approaching twenty years since I floated through the cavernous blue voids inside B-15 and now, many scientists believe that the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free in another twenty. Will my photographs of the sea ice hang in a gallery of great extinctions beside the dodo bird and perhaps even our cherished polar bears? With every dive that I conduct in the Arctic, I realize that I am swimming in an environment that has never been seen and will never be seen again. Groundless? Unproven? I know with certainty that I am in a race to record the last ice.

A Place of Great Change

The Arctic is transforming more rapidly than anywhere else on our planet. Temperatures in the Canadian north are rising at twice the rate seen elsewhere. With the Arctic food web shifting from shrinking sea ice, traditional Inuit hunts are disrupted, and the tenuous balance of food security is lost. Permafrost melting, sea level rise, erosion and an increase in stormy weather pose risks for a society that has always lived in balance with nature. With the Arctic becoming more navigable and accessible, resource speculation is on the rise. Oil and gas and shipping industries are jockeying into position to snag new routes and drilling rights in the open water. These activities will indelibly alter the complexion of the Arctic and bring new threats to an otherwise pristine sanctuary.

“The Arctic is unraveling,” says Rafe Pomerance, who chairs a network of conservation groups called Arctic 21. A recent report from his organization finds that, from 2011 to 2015, the Arctic was warmer than at any time since records began around 1900. Sea ice has diminished, and the snow cover in Europe and North America is half of what it was in the days when I swam through the B-15 iceberg.

Traveling 700 km north of the Arctic Circle takes a bit of work. From my part-time home in Florida, it is the equivalent of a journey to the center of the earth; some 6424 km. But the airline trip out of the relative abundance of Ottawa to the simplicity of Pond Inlet is delightful. The flight from my nation’s capital included refills in Iqaluit, Hall Beach, and Igloolik with each small community stop providing an opportunity for families and friends to reconnect. Canadian North Airways makes flying comfortable, delicious and fun. That’s tough to say about most airlines these days. Our plane drops into the tiny outpost of Hall Beach and cheering applause erupts in the small cabin. One woman yells, “There is my house! There is my house! Can you see my house?” She is genuinely excited when two quads roll into the airport parking lot, piled high with aunties, young men, and women wearing traditional amautis. Tiny eyes peer out from the dark recesses of a quilted hood, and a small baby crawls around the young woman’s neck emerging onto her shoulder to reach toward the passenger from the plane. They nuzzle a familial greeting filled with joy then hug and giggle with gratitude for their brief reconnection. Thirty minutes later we are called back to the tarmac after the cargo has been swapped and fuel has been loaded. Some people would call these stops an inconvenience, but I can think of nothing better than being a part of these brief loving reunions.

Arrival in Pond Inlet is just the beginning of the journey since it will take a half day or more to reach our camp on the sea ice. With the sea ice melting and rain in the forecast, a direct course to Arctic Kingdom’s encampment is unlikely. Though the ice is still safe for travel, large melt ponds and long cracks will mean a circuitous path to reach the temporary outpost that is set far enough from the floe edge to remain viable for a few more weeks.

Beneath Fleeting Ice

For diving, we load sleds again, traveling on traditional qamutiks from our comfortable canvas yurts. I am awed by the majesty of the snow-covered peaks, whose glaciers descend to the sea ice that my Inuit guides call “the land.” Misty clouds pour down the valleys in swirling masses of white that blend into the tableau before me. I feel the connection of people, snow, and mountains; the environment of the Arctic is one harmonious organism.

The line from the qamutik to the Skidoo that Kevin Enook drives swings sideways spraying up a rooster tail of slush in the way that a boat creates a wake. Kevin looks back and signals “okay,” and ensures we are still grinning from ear to ear. We turn abruptly to follow alongside an open lead in the ice. The crack is remarkably straight and too wide to cross. A mile closer to shore we find a spot where our Skidoo can bridge the gap. Kevin unhooks the qamutik and revs the engine to full speed, then flies across the lead. He throws us a rope and pulls the longer sled across. Although this ice is fastened to the shore, I begin to appreciate the transient nature of the melting pack.

We resume the race to a pinnacle on the horizon; an iceberg that has made a journey from the glaciers of Greenland to be locked in the fast ice for a winter. Upon arrival at the looming berg, Enook and Billy Mergosak take careful steps close to the iceberg to test the ice. A small strip of open water is a testament to the fact that this frozen monument is struggling to free itself from the grips of the floe. Under the bright sun, freshwater cascades down the face of the ice in streaming rivulets that furrow the surface in vertical channels. The site is perfect for an exploration dive.

Nathalie Lasselin fires up the compressor which seems deafening in this pristine place while Enook threads a titanium ice screw into the surface a few meters back from the cobalt blue hole where we will descend to undetermined depths. He prepares lines that will connect us to the surface and knocks away the unstable margin of the hole we will enter. I place my camera by the water and wonder whether I should tie it off too. One small crack could send it plummeting down into the unknown.

I settle in the water first and push away the slush that obscures my view. Enook passes me the camera and I drop through a fuzzy halocline of mixing fresh and salt water. Long runners of algae flap horizontally in the current, held fast to the undersurface of ice. This alga and other nutrients held within the ice will feed the zooplankton that serves as the base of the Arctic food chain. Bottom dwellers such as anemones, sponges, and halibut will, in turn, feed other fish and marine mammals like belugas, narwhal, and bowhead whales.

The surface of the ice is dimpled and fluted, carved by the undersea currents that now pull my rope taut. I’m connected to Enook like a fish on a line; only I hope he does not lose this catch. Falling down the facade, I observe layers of time that could date this ice back 10,000 or more years. Some seams are distinctly transparent while others are packed white with small air bubbles that now fizz as they dissolve. Deeper, I reach a colorful carpet of orange kelp that hides a miniature garden of crustaceans and Cnidaria. I look upwards in the glaciated cathedral to see Nathalie descend on a silver wire of bubbles. Her silhouette glides through the cerulean depths as she works hard to pull her line toward me. We meet in this temporary palace realizing that we are both privileged to document this fragile kingdom of ice.

Nobody can be certain about when the Arctic sea ice will be gone, but scientists agree that we are on a precarious downward spiral. Professor Jason Box, a glaciologist with the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland declares, “the loss of nearly all Arctic sea ice in late summer is inevitable,” and others assert that an ice-free Arctic Ocean will arrive within decades. I am grateful for the opportunity to preserve this memory, but what will happen to the people and animals of the North. How will they adapt to the last ice?

Logistics – It is imperative that you use knowledgeable local guides and experienced outfitters for Arctic expeditions. Polar bear risks are significant and require round the clock watch by armed guides. An experienced local Inuk will rarely shoot a bear for protection because they know how to dissuade hunting mammals using their snow machines and noisemakers. Following their advice is paramount for safety on the ice.

Outfitter – Arctic Kingdom has been crafting legendary Arctic adventures for more than 15 years. They offer custom expeditions as well as trips like their Baffin Island Dive Safari, Polar Bear Migration Photo Trip and other Arctic travel packages throughout the North.

Flights – Canadian North Airlines and First Air – Canadian North and it’s founding Airways has provided reliable and efficient passenger and cargo services to Northerners for more than 80 years. Flights are available from Ottawa, Edmonton, Gander and other gateways.

Tourism Information – Providing maps, guide service links, and lodging information, Nunavut Tourism is the information portal to the North.

Ice Diving – Diving below ice can be spectacular, but the low temperatures in which the activity takes place warrants the greatest respect. Equipment must be appropriate for the conditions and regulators, in particular, must be reliable in the extreme cold. Ice divers should use redundant regulators that are easy to reach in the event of a free-flow. In sub-zero conditions, free-flows are common, and a diver must be prepared to immediately turn off their tank and switch to an alternate supply while aborting the dive.

Avoid getting cold before diving and stay dry using wicking fabric layers such as merino wool and Capilene. Technical undergarments are important in the event of a suit flood, and alternate dry clothes should always be available upon surfacing.

Visibility can be variable but tends to excel beyond 40 meters. Strong currents and unpredictable tides justify the use of ice diving tethers supported by experienced surface attendants.

Arctic Facts:

Fast ice is the floating ice that forms in the winter around the pack ice and land masses in the Arctic Ocean.
Polar bears need the sea ice of the Arctic Ocean for hunting.
The four whale species in the Arctic Ocean include the bowhead, gray, beluga whales and tusked narwhal.
Six seal species in Arctic waters include the bearded, ribbon, ringed, spotted, harp, and the hooded seals.
More fish species reside in the Arctic Ocean than anywhere else in the world.
Perhaps one-quarter of undiscovered oil reserves is believed to be located beneath the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean.
Canadian Group of Seven artist Lawren Harris painted a series of canvases of Arctic landscapes in 1931 that have yielded as much as $2.43 million dollars a piece.

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Beneath the Sea Ice

By | All Posts, Arctic, We Are Water | No Comments

Baffin Island’s sea ice fractures in a razor sharp straight line, as if carved by the hand of humanity. Beneath the meter thick frozen plateau resides the figurative wheat fields of the Arctic. Algae carpet the underside of the ice as they reach fingers upward for nourishment from the muted sun that permeates the pack. The glowing orange algae are the fire in the food chain. Organisms that live in this interface between water and ice get over 90% or their carbon from ice algae. When the ice melts, it releases its abundance to animals that live on the edge of floe, but if it is gone forever, then the web of life will be interrupted. Summer sea ice in the Arctic is an endangered species. Its rapid decline makes the future of the Arctic ecosystem difficult to predict. The heaving cleft in the ice over my head has not been incised my man, but the rapidly warming world we live in has been carved out by our activities. Will we slow the melt?

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Life Above and Below the Ice

By | All Posts, Arctic, We Are Water | No Comments

Air, ice, water and land blend to create a unified ecosystem in the Arctic. There is a constantly shifting balance between the elements that fight for dominance throughout the year. As the ice cracks and exposes leads each spring, the mammals begin to gather at the floe edge. When the ice breaks up, an abundance of nutrients is released to fuel an ocean of life.

A lion’s mane jellyfish beneath the ice

Dive operations beside a massive iceberg stuck in sea ice

A very tiny diver, Nathalie Lasselin descends towards me sitting 90 feet beneath the ice cover.

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Changing Sea Ice

By | All Posts, Arctic, We Are Water | No Comments

Inuit guide Sheatie Tagak and other local guides share with me that their hunting range is shrinking. The sea ice forms up later each year and does not extend as far. They have no question that the Arctic is melting and despite the enormous change that will mean for their ecosystem, they are determined to adapt and retain the most important aspects of their traditional existence. According to Tagak and Bill Merkosak, hunting together binds a family union.

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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