Can the common battle against the spreading of the Coronavirus also be considered a paradigm for our great environmental challenges? Forced to make radical choices, to forego our own habits and interests for the good of the community, and to guarantee the right to life and health for everyone, will we be able to also understand the need of pursuing some common objectives that are necessary for the limitation of climate change? These are the sorts of questions that come natural when we think about the framework in which World Water Day was celebrated last 22 March all over the world.
A day lasting a year
World Water Day has been an annual celebration since 1992, when the United Nations decided to promote among their member states joint thinking regarding access to our water resources and the sustainability of water habitats. According to the data of the UNICEF and OMS “Progress on Household Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene 2000-2017 – Focus on Inequalities” report, approximately 2.2 billion people on our planet have no access to safely managed drinking water, 4.2 billion have no access to adequate toilet facilities, and 3 billion do not possess the basic tools required for simple but necessary hygienic behaviours, such as washing hands.
Our Part. At high altitude
Each decision around the world has local repercussions. At a time when climate change also has an important impact – in terms of water resources -, on mountain areas (just think about the melting glaciers), the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation is undertaking a tangible action in collaboration with the managers of the huts of the World Heritage territory, in order to increase awareness among the public regarding the importance of proper and informed behaviour when visiting high altitude locations, and the responsible use of water. Educating tourists: this is one of the topics that clearly emerged during the latest training course promoted by the Foundation aimed at mountain hut managers, which took place last November at Val di Zoldo. These will be some of the main points of discussion of the next “Incontri d’alt(r)a quota” festival, organised for the third year running by the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation in the mountain huts across the Dolomites. During next summer, there will again be many events at high altitude, to discuss, agree and identify together the paths to follow to ensure that we can experience our mountains with better awareness. And part of this awareness lies indeed in the responsible use of our water resources, which are becoming increasingly scarce and precious.
Ph. Rita Zandonella, Rifugio Berti – Vallon Popera, Comelico Superiore