FGCU scientists, students, highlight World Water Day
Florida Gulf Coast University celebrated World Water Day with several activities throughout campus to bring awareness to the problems facing the global effort to provide drinking water to all.
World Water Day is held March 22 every year to focus attention on fresh water quality and quantity globally, and to raise awareness of the global water scarcity crisis in countries like America where getting as much water as desired is as easy as turning on the spigot.
Jo Muller, an FGCU professor in the Department of Marine and Ecological Science and expert in hurricanes and climate change, spoke about Hurricane Ian’s devastating trek up through the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico before making landfall near Fort Myers.
Muller said the whole reason hurricanes exist is to spread the energy collected in the oceans onto land, which in South Florida’s case with Ian, resulted in rainfall totals measured in feet not inches.
“Unfortunately for Ian he didn’t encounter much wind shear until he actually exited off Cuba,” Muller said. “And by then the storm was rapidly intensifying.”
Muller pointed out that last year’s Atlantic hurricane season was rather tranquill until Ian landed at Cayo Costa off Lee County as a dangerous, high-end Category 4 storm.
“It was a really quiet start to the season,” she said. “We haven’t really seen that since like the 1950s.”
Eric Eikenberg, CEO of the Everglades Foundation, discussed myriad issues facing water quality and quantity in the River of Grass, including some successes of the ongoing restoration efforts.
The FGCU Sailing Club spent two hours on the water near Lakefront Beach in celebration of World Water Day as well.
World Water Day is backed by international humanitarian agencies, including the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, an agency within the United Nations.
Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO’s director-general, released a statement summing up the problem of inequities in drinking water availability as one largely caused by entire nations not realizing how they use water can cause negative effects in countries around the world.
"On this World Day, UNESCO would like to recall the extent to which water, whose cycle is global, is permanently at odds with human boundaries ,” Azoulay wrote. “It is up to us to draw the necessary conclusions and to see it as what it is: a vital and common good of humanity, which must therefore be considered on the scale of humanity."
Environmental reporting for WGCU is funded in part by VoLo Foundation, a non-profit with a mission to accelerate change and global impact by supporting science-based climate solutions, enhancing education, and improving health.
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