Saturday, March 27, 2010

Know Your H2O

On World Water Day, March 22nd, 2010, the Surfrider Foundation launched The Cycle of Insanity: The Real Story of Water, a video that connects the impacts of our current water management system to coastal issues and offers common sense solutions to illustrate how we can make progress toward sustainability in water and wastewater management.

The Cycle of Insanity: The Real Story of Water from Surfrider Foundation on Vimeo.

Access to clean water is a human right. Despite what our decision makers tell us, we're not in a water crisis; our water management system is itself a crisis. The way we manage water not only affects how much water we have in our storage tanks and reservoirs, it impacts the coastline and ocean as well. From sewage discharges to stormwater runoff, how we manage and value water has a direct correlation to the state of our beaches. Can't surf after it rains? Look no further than the streets of your town.

Created through a collaboration of volunteer Surfrider activists, The Cycle of Insanity: The Real Story of Water evolved into a 20-minute video explaining the connection between environmental problems on the coast and our outdated water management system. It explains the problems we face and offers solutions to improve the process and (re)use this precious resource wisely. The myopia of our society leads decision makers to propose and rely on short-term solutions to long-term problems, at the expense of our resources. For example, leaders propose desalination to create the renewable resource of water, but rely on the use of a non-renewable source of energy to do it. Short-sighted thinking led us into this Cycle of Insanity.

Originally conceived as an interactive website, the idea grew into a video as more Surfrider volunteers shared ideas, concepts, and energy. We found that video was the best medium to condense water facts and policy in an entertaining and informative way. We realize that it's often difficult for people to absorb new information, particularly information that asks them to shift their worldview. We believe that a video allows the viewer to easily digest the information. Directed towards Water and Public Agencies, Academics, City Councils, Press, Members, Students, and the General Public, The Cycle of Insanity: The Real Story of Water is as accessible to a 6-year old as it is a 96-year old and everyone in-between.

Using the model of the water cycle as a template, the film explains the current style of water management and explores what the ideal water management system would look like, with localized water treatment plants and neighborhoods and cities that incorporate native plant life and filtration systems. It shows how smart water management can eliminate unnecessary run-off, encourage reuse, provide a buffer against storms and other so-called "natural" disasters, and improve the aesthetics and livability of our communities. Inefficient water management affects us all, regardless of our geographic location.

What began in San Diego as a campaign in integrated water eventually sprouted into the Know Your H2O program, an idea with roots in several of our California chapters-West Los Angeles and Malibu, South Orange County, Ventura, Monterey, Newport, Santa Cruz, and San Luis Bay-as well as the East Coast chapters. Water management is an issue that affects us all, impacting the water quality in our aquifers and oceans.

Concern, critique, moderation, and conservation are the building blocks of progress. Become engaged in the issues that affect your local community and access to clean water. Watch The Cycle of Insanity: The Real Story of Water and discover the water system as it should be-arm yourself with the tools to start thinking critically about water management and break the Cycle of Insanity!