Hi, my name is Joshua, and I am a part of the Grades of Green Youth Corps Eco-Leadership program. I am passionate about water conservation and Grades of Green’s School wide Water Conservation Activity, and here is why. Human beings’ need for water surpasses any other resource. It sustains our life, keeps us clean, and takes care of the world around us. Although about 71 percent of the Earth is water, only 2.5 percent is freshwater that we can drink, and less than 1 percent is accessible to humans. Water is very important, yet all humans are at fault of wasting it. Studies show that in United States homes, about 1 trillion gallons of water are wasted per year. We are all responsible for taking this much-needed resource for granted. All that water could be going to the approximately 780 million people who do not have access to clean, usable water (unwater.org).

Now is the time to change our ways. Water has become more important than ever, especially since our reserves are diminishing. If we are more determined, focused, and intelligent about water and how water is used in our lives, we can save it. Even by doing little things, like turning off the water when brushing your teeth, or larger projects, like installing low-flow showerheads, we make a difference. On websites such as wateruseitwisely.com, www.loudonwater.org, and www3.epa.gov, there are countless ways your whole family can come together for this great cause. There are also many games and challenges to take part in together.

The biggest cause for water shortage is leaks. By notifying your parents about a leak, you can not only save 10,000 gallons per year, but also about 10 percent on their next water bill. If you are suspicious about your toilet having a leak, all you have to do is place a drop of food coloring into the tank, and wait 15 minutes. If the food coloring seeps into the actual bowl, you know your toilet is wasting water.

If we all work together to save the drop, we can ensure that water on Earth will survive for many, many generations to come. Furthermore, you will become a hero to suffering people across the globe. Water is much too valuable to be wasted, so take a stand for this cause.

Do you love teaching about our forests in urban environments? Do citizen science projects tickle your fancy? If you are a K-12 educator or teacher in the Greater Los Angeles region, this could be your chance to acquire a grant ($400-$800) for piloting and sharing your lesson plans involving hands-on urban forestry activities. The Earthwatch Institute is offering several grants for lesson plans using the materials developed by its Urban Resiliency Program.

Start small, think big: native, drought-resistant gardens are one way to impact urban environments and increase resiliency at a smaller level of green space. Grades of Green’s “Drought Tolerant Garden” activity is an interactive lesson in water conservation, soil sustainable practices (for example, lowering pesticides and fertilizers used), and local biodiversity enrichment.

Lesson proposals are due by October 3, 2016, but keep in mind that the proposal should have pilot lessons plans for implementation in the classroom setting before February 1, 2017. The urban resiliency lesson plan should include an activity that collects urban tree data for analysis in the classroom. Apply here.

For more information about the grant, check out this document!

Need help tending your school’s garden? You can empower your students for caring about the environment by assembling a Grades of Green Team to work on a variety of green activities.