Tapping the Well of Water Innovation: Seeking sustainable solutions to water access, quality and conflict
April 22-25, 2015
In late April of 2015, 38 youth from four continents came together in Washington, D.C. to share their research, expand their knowledge, meet with experts and collaborate with other Montessori youth to develop concrete action plans to solve the water crisis. They arrived equipped with powerpoint presentations, research papers, photos highlighting the water crisis in their home communities, and the desire to truly make a difference through their work.
Over the four days, these exceptional students impressed everyone they met (from heads of organizations, universities, and government institutions) with their base-knowledge, maturity, critical thinking, and seriousness.
Prior to the Summit the students researched, interviewed, and wrote papers about water access, water quality or water conflict, as it related to their local community. They came as experts in their research areas.
During the Summit they shared their information, and as they listened to others’ research, their understanding broadened to see where their sub-topic (access, quality or conflict) fit into the global water crisis. They worked side by side experts in their fields to better understand the innovation happening across sectors to address water access, quality and conflict and develop concrete action plans to be implemented upon returning to their home communities.
For the closing ceremony on the final day, the students transformed into storytellers. They shared the stories of water which they carefully brought from home (from a mountain river in Peru, from a rock in rural Spain, from a well in Maryland, from a river in the Philippines, and from the Chesapeake Bay in Washington, D.C.) and poured the water into a common bowl. Then, drawing on all of their research, interviews, and personal experiences, they read short stories which they had written with the intention of propelling people to action. Those are the stories contained in this publication alongside their research. I warn you, they are not always up-lifting. They speak of eerie dystopias and darker realities. They evoke images, not only of thirst for water, but thirst for justice and a world where everyone has access to this human right. Then, they call us to action. They do so in their manifesto, which they wrote together during the summit. The manifesto, crafted in only a few hours, is a bold declaration of what they believe, complete with suggestions on how to act to help solve the water crisis.
Through their hard work, dedication, and continued action (see the action plans in the appendix), they inspire me, and hopefully you, to spread the word about the slow and steady problems regarding water (from drought to death) and to work to prevent these and other outcomes. These 38 youth from Peru, the Philippines, Spain and the United States arrived united as Montessori students, but left the Summit as close comrades in the fight for water justice. This publication is an invitation to join them. Join Montessori PeaceX and connect with them and all of the great work they are doing!
To read about the 2013 Adolescent Summit-Surviving the Global Food Crisis, click here.