A recent USA TODAY infographic caught my eye with its notation that water shortages are among the top five environmental concerns of teens in the United States. And I have to say; I think this is great news. Not that anyone should be happy about the issue of water shortages, but this is a very real problem that we and future generations must deal with. The fact that it’s already on teens’ minds puts us in a good position to motivate them for action.
According to the survey associated with the infographic, “teenagers frequently look for new ways to help preserve the environment while at the same time they also expressed the need to go beyond the classroom to satisfy their environmental curiosity.” I’ve seen this desire firsthand, as I discussed in my post about youth education and source water protection and it’s a great sign that kids want to make a difference in the environment on their own time. In fact, the survey results showed that a majority of students are willing to do more, like volunteering to clean up public areas (56 percent) to recycling (85 percent) and reducing energy usage (85 percent).
As we continue to see news about the drought affecting various regions across the country, it’s not surprising that 51 percent of the teenagers surveyed feel that possible water shortages will impact their lives in the future. So now that it’s on their radar…what can be done to spur these primed environmental volunteers? Further education is a good start, and supplying an outlet for involvement can offer them a direction for their energetic efforts. It’s up those of us in the water industry to work with local communities, educators, and volunteer organizations to make sure that as our children’s awareness and desire to help the environment grows, it can result in positive change for us all.