It’s World Water Day! Chilean Copper Mine Converts to 100% Renewable Power, The DC Environmental Film Festival, and Old Dairy Farm Becomes New Solar Farm

by | Mar 22, 2022 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

It’s World Water Day! Plus, a Chilean copper mine converts to 100% renewable power. The DC Environmental Film Festival, and an old, worn-out New England dairy farm finds new life in agrovoltaics.



World Water Day, held on 22 March every year since 1993, focuses on the importance of freshwater.

World Water Day celebrates water and raises awareness of the 2.2 billion people living without access to safe water. It’s about taking action to tackle the global water crisis. A core focus of World Water Day is to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030.

The day was created during the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 to highlight the reality of water scarcity around the globe. The UN General Assembly announced that World Water Day would be celebrated annually on March 22. 

Every year has a theme. In 2022, it’s Making Groundwater–Making the Invisible Visible. According to, Groundwater is invisible, but its impact is visible everywhere.

Out of sight, under our feet, groundwater is a hidden treasure that enriches our lives. Almost all of the liquid freshwater in the world is groundwater. As climate change gets worse, groundwater will become more and more critical. We need to work together to sustainably manage this precious resource. Groundwater may be out of sight, but it must not be out of mind. 

If you’re into it, join World Water Day’s 60-second challenge: 

Shoot a 60 second video and tell us… How does groundwater affect your life? Is there enough? Is it safe? What needs to be done to protect groundwater? Share your groundwater story!

Make your film…

  • One minute max.
  • Landscape orientation.
  • Civil and truthful.
  • In English or with English subtitles.

Don’t forget to include the hashtags #MyGroundwaterStory & #WorldWaterDay, upload to YouTube or Vimeo, and send us the link at

And if not that’s not your thing, there are lots of other activities you can do to celebrate good ol’ H2O–the precious gift of life. 




In 2018, Dairy Farmer Bussie York of Farmington, ME lost  her dairy contract with Horizon Organic. York tried to use the farm for other purposes, but it didn’t have the right soil quality to harvest plants. Says York, “it just came to the point where we had to look for something viable enough to keep the farm going.”

So, farmer York and family decided to accept the offer from a solar developer and harvest the sun. The farm now hosts 300,000 solar panels on about 100 acres of farmland. It  generates about  76.5 megawatts, or enough energy to power over 12, 500 homes. Farmer York wants to expand agricultural uses near the solar array like bringing in sheep to graze the grass around the panels.

Ellen Griswold, the policy and research director for Maine Farmland Trust, says that with proper planning, solar can be a good option to help farmers diversify their income streams and help meet the state’s climate goals. 

Why does farmer York’s story matter to us? It’s an example of repurposing failing agriculture into thriving agrivoltaic culture. York’s solar farm will generate more than $700,000 a year in additional tax revenue. Another added benefit, the local tech center is using the farm as a teaching tool in its engineering classes.

DEEPER DIVE: WBUR, Farmington Solar Project, Bowdoin


What’s also happening today is the vaunted DC Environmental FIlm Festival: our National Park Service/CEF Student Video Showcase with intros by Dean Sam Fulwood and the NPS Director Chuck Sams. Co-hosted with the Department of the Interior Museum and the DOI Environmental Justice Program. March 22, 7-8pm

Don’t miss this lively virtual event, this evening March 22 at 7pmET!  Go behind-the-scenes with the National Park Service and AU’s Center For Environmental Filmmaking students to hear about the making of the “NPS Student Showcase” videos! Please spread the word. . .

TO WATCH THE VIDEOS & REGISTER FOR THE EVENT: 621908a19208df00682b2269

The event is co-hosted with the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital, CEF, NPS, Tracey Baetz, Chief Curator of the U.S. Dept. of Interior Museum, and Ryan Hathaway, head of the U.S. Dept. of Interior Environmental Justice program. And check out the other outstanding festival films:




The Zaldívar copper mine in Chile is a joint venture between copper mining groups Antofagasta Minerals and Barrick Gold Corporation. The mine is set to be the country’s first to operate with 100% renewable electricity. Chile’s climate change strategy aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030.

In 2020, the mining groups signed a contract with Colbun S.A., a Chilean-based utility company, that will supply Zaldívar electricity derived from hydro, solar or wind sources over a ten-year period.

Colbun, also a Chilean utility company, will certify that the energy used at Zaldívar comes from renewable sources that do not generate emissions. This must additionally be verified by an external party. The agreement will allow Zaldívar to reduce its future energy costs, says Antofagasta CEO, Iván Arriagada.

According to Kelvin Dushnisky, President of Barrick mining company, “Every responsible business today has an obligation to play a constructive role in tackling the challenges posed by climate change.” Why does renewable energy at Zaldívar matter to us? Before the commitment to renewable energy, the Zaldívar mine’s greenhouse gas emissions were equivalent to 350,000 tons per year, or the same as 87,000 vehicles per year.

DEEPER DIVE: Barrick, Mining Digital, Mining