Climate champion, Shreya Ramanchandran, and her Grey Water Project. Plus Cypress restores sea life w/ underwater museum.
Climate Champion–Shreya Ramanchandran, The Grey Water Project, Cypress Restores Sea Life w/ Underwater Museum
CYPRUS’ NEW UNDERWATER MUSEUM RESTORES THE SEA
If you’re headed to the Mediterranean this summer, make sure to pack your snorkeling gear. The Museum of Underwater Sculpture Ayia Napa (MUSAN) in Cyprus is open for business – and the images are haunting. The museum is home to an exhibition of 93 sculptures by world-famous reef artist Jason deCaires Taylor.
Taylor aims to put the spotlight on “rewilding our natural spaces” and “reforesting areas of barren habitat” through his installation. Taylor tells CNN Travel, “I tried to incorporate as many references to climate change and habitat loss and pollution as I could, because those are really the defining issues of our era,”
All of deCaires Taylor’s work is made of pH neutral cement that facilitates coral growth. Each piece of art contains slits. The slits, the edges, the space create the ideal conditions for marine organisms to attach themselves, giving them the right environment to develop and create a rich artificial reef that will create life.
For each of his works, he calculates the peculiarities of the seabed, its geography, temperature and microclimate but also the location by selecting points at a distance from natural reefs so as not to affect the natural elements. Controlling the artificial intervention also ensures that microorganisms are dispersed correctly.
“We believe that this is the greatest opportunity we have on the island to raise awareness about the need to protect our marine environment. And to bring people in the water,” especially young people, says Giorgos Bayadas, a fisheries biologist for Cyprus’ Authority for Fisheries and Marine Environment.
Said the artist, “I’m kind of hoping that it leaves the visitor with a sense of hope along with a sense that the human impact isn’t always negative. That we can reverse some of the things we’ve done.”
CLIMATE CHAMPION SHREYA RAMACHANDRAN
Water insecurity is increasing for many people around the world due to climate change. A warming atmosphere causes water to evaporate into the air. The wind carries the water vapor away to rain elsewhere, causing drought in one place, contributing to flooding in another.
Five years ago, these facts inspired then high school senior, Shreya Ramachandran to tackle the problem through the use of grey water. She founded The Grey Water Project, which educates people about reusing water and developed a science curriculum on the topic that more than 90 schools teach.
What is grey water and why does conserving it matter to us? Greywater is the lightly used water from sinks, showers, baths, laundries – it’s basically like any water that’s been used once in the home and can be used again. It makes up 60% of the used water in a home; recycling it could save 23 billion gallons of water every day.
According to Ramachandran, “I was talking to some of the people in the area whose wells completely ran dry, and they were left without water because they weren’t connected to the central water grid. They were trucking water in for even basic needs.” “I was really affected by their stories, and I wanted to do something to help.” This wasn’t in a developing nation. She was referring to Tulair County, CA.
Ramachandran has won numerous awards for her research. She was also named a global finalist in the 2019 Google Science Fair, and she is the winner of the 2019 Children’s Climate Prize.
Says Shreya, “I would really encourage people to understand that we have had the same amount of water on the planet since the time of the dinosaurs. That’s really the basis of it. If we don’t conserve water now, then we’re not going to have enough for future generations.”
THE GREY WATER PROJECT
So Maude hipped us to Shreya Ramanchandran, founder of the The Grey Water Project. So what’s this non-profit all about
Founded in 2016, the Grey Water Project promotes the safe reuse of grey water and water conservation in order to create a more sustainable water future for everyone. It also encourages people to take action on this issue, work towards reducing their own water use, and understand how they can contribute to the global drought solution.
Sixty percent of all water we use daily we don’t drink. We use it to shower, wash dishes and clothes, hose down sidewalks, you get the picture. That’s grey water. Lightly used water from sinks, showers, baths, laundries – it’s basically any water that’s been used once in the home and can be used again.
It’s not toilet water! But it’s treated that way, in the sense that we use it once and it goes down the same waste drain to the water treatment plant. There, it’s “sanitized” and then often released into the local river, bay or ocean.
Recycled grey water can be reused for things like landscape irrigation, toilet flushing, and other non-potable uses –meaning “non-drinkable.” In fact, reusing grey water can save over 8 trillion gallons of water per year in the United States alone. Incomprehensible number, right? Just multiply 23B by 365, you’ll see. Just that statistic alone is why the Grey Water Project matters to us.
Grey water reuse is even more effective than most other water conservation solutions currently available, including rain water harvesting. That’s because even in areas where drought has ensued from lack of rainfall, grey water is still available.
The Grey Water Project has also created a grey water curriculum. It’s a Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)-aligned STEM curriculum focused on teaching students where their water comes from, how they’re using it, and the connection between droughts and climate change. It’s been implemented by over 90 schools, and it’s also part of PBS’s curriculum group, Stanford Science in the City, EarthX, and several others.
For more intel on the Grey Water Project, zip on over to TheClimate.org/episodes and click on the link to this story at the bottom of the page.