Friday, June 1, 2012

International Children's Groundwater Summit: Were You There?

In 1998, in celebration of its 10th year of groundwater festivals, The Groundwater Foundation held a unique and most interesting event, the International Children’s Groundwater Summit.  Twenty-six children from around the world came to Grand Island, Nebraska to learn about groundwater.  The youth participated in hands-on education and made recommendations about groundwater and its relationship to global climate change, children’s health and wildlife.  The declaration these youth prepared as a part of their experiences is stated below.

But why you might ask am I writing about this now almost 14 years later?  Because last week while we were all going about our daily work here at the Foundation, one of the students who participated in the 1998 International Children’s Groundwater Summit contacted me and is very interested in locating the other youth who participated in the Summit.  She wrote:

“My name is Alaina and I was one of the attendees to the International Children's Groundwater Summit in 1998.  I have been trying for a number of years to locate those who were involved in that event as it and they impacted who I am today.  I wanted to inquire if anyone else has tried to contact you or your organization about the event.  I would also appreciate any information you could send me about the summit.  I wish I could go back to my 12-year-old self and let her know that the summit would be something to influence many of my life choices.  Maybe then I would have maintained contact with my fellow attendees.”

So if you participated in the 1998 Summit or know someone who did, please let us know as we would love to re-connect these youth who spent several days together and prepared a declaration that each of us should consider as we go about our daily routines.

International Children’s Groundwater Summit Declaration

WE the children representing the countries of the world, who have attended the 1998 International Children’s Groundwater Summit in Grand Island, Nebraska, from March 21-23, recalling the speakers, activities and the discussions on the environmental issues of all the countries of the world, considering the importance of groundwater and its importance to all people of all nations;

REQUEST that the people of the world all work together to solve the problems of groundwater, uniting as a community and not considering our differences; considering also that diseases are carried in contaminated water (surface and ground) and that children who have lower immune systems can drink the water and acquire health problems;

INVITE you all to take this issue into your heart and think about all the children that are suffering from water-related diseases; considering also that habitat for wild creatures is disappearing because of people’s needs for water and land;

REQUEST that the people of the world protect these wild places where wild animals and plants live, by making laws and by everyone respecting the laws and doing their part to keep water clean; considering also that the average global temperature is rising, this will result in the melting of polar ice caps that will cause sea levels to rise, resulting in flooding of low lying areas; considering further that increased global temperatures will also cause more frequent and severe droughts with less groundwater recharge affecting food production and water supply;

REQUEST that the people of the world recognize these issues and immediately take steps to reduce energy consumption and slow down the “greenhouse effect.”  By revolutionizing our prevention methods and power sources, we can prevent global warming and preserve this wonderful place we live in.

RECOMMEND that all the leaders of all the nations of all the world consider our recommendations and take them seriously as a major concern for the future of the world and its children.

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