Kids' Environmental Report Card: Water

"When the well's dry, we know the worth of water," wrote Benjamin Franklin, one of our nation's founders, in 1746.

Judging from a recent Environmental Report Card poll, kids share Franklin's view of this precious resource. However, poll results revealed that kids were unsure if environmental issues about water were "extremely important" or whether "other issues are more important" to them. Nearly equal numbers of voters expressed these two views.

Safeguarding water quality and ensuring there will be enough fresh water for people's needs are both challenges that governments around the world must face. Many people point to population growth as a major influence on both the quality and the quantity of fresh water supplies. Others point to climate change as the major culprit behind reductions to the planet's already limited drinking water reserves.

What about the planet's salt water? In a previous Kids' Environmental Report Card poll on ocean life, pollution received more votes than the three other threats — global warming, overfishing, and ship and boat traffic — combined.

Small Steps, Big Savings

Without question, major steps must be taken to conserve the world's precious water resources. However, many smaller steps will also make a big difference over time. As "warrior-cat-hp" suggested on Scholastic's Save the Planet bulletin board:

"So instead of throwing away extra water... pour it in a pitcher. After a while, the pitcher will get full and you can pour it on your plants. If you don't grow plants, give it to your dog. If you don't have a dog, make something with it, like tea. If everyone started doing this, we could save a ton of water (or more)."

Such forward thinking would've certainly made Benjamin Franklin proud.