Most of you are probably familiar with (through reruns, of course!) those cult classic B-movies chock full of kitsch that hit their stride in the 1950s and 1960s. In particular, do you remember those films in the “Mars Attack!” category? Somehow, somewhere, a world leader has been notified by belligerent lifeforms from another planet that in five days they will attack Earth, with intent to destroy life as we know it. The best leaders, scientists and defense strategists from countries around the globe get together to take charge and stop the alien attack. Everyone goes into crisis mode, puts aside their differences and international conflicts, and works together to save Earth. Which, naturally, they do!
Where am I going with this? The Stockholm International Water Institute’s World Water Week is a worldwide conference. Since 1991, it has been bringing together the best minds, leaders and activists to address and transform global water challenges. Believe it or not, the “Mars Attack!” analogy is a great way to understand the what, why and how of World Water Week. This six-day summit focuses on protecting our planet from forces working to deplete our natural water resources and prevent water access for billions of people. World Water Week unites and mobilizes people in business, science, policy and civic arenas who are responsible for addressing the challenges and creating a water-sustainable planet. Together, participants share ideas and experiences, dive deeply into issues and best practices, and collaborate on formulating viable, game-changing solutions. These participants do all this for a shared mission—saving our most precious resource – water – and saving our planet.
World Water Week also demonstrates how countries and leaders can put aside their differences and conflicts to work together toward a common water goal. This year’s conference, August 25–30, will unite more than 3,300 people from 130 countries and 400 organizations. They will engage in more than 250 sessions, networking opportunities and forums that allow them to focus on ensuring that all living things have consistent access to the water they need to live and thrive, today and into the future.
Lastly, it’s worth noting this year’s theme: Water for Society—Including All. The 2019 theme states a clear goal of the inclusion of every race, creed, faith and population in reaping the benefits from this movement toward universal water access and sustainability. However, Water for Society—Including All also strives for diversity and inclusion in formulating the solutions to get us to that point. The greater the diversity of populations, geographical environments, lifestyles, cultures, etc., that can be brought to the table at World Water Week, the more thoroughly and effectively we can move toward a truly global, lasting water ideal.
As the focal point for global water issues for three decades, World Water Week strongly promotes, respects and values the importance of individual and local community efforts in advancing water accessibility and sustainability goals. However, its primary message is that the water threat to our planet is real and vast; therefore, the solutions require an integrated global effort. I encourage you to peruse the conference website to get a feel for the diversity of topics and great things that happen there.