For World Water Day, tell us: Where do YOU see blue?

Mar 18, 2016


World Water Day revelers all over the globe are going #Blue4Water to bring attention to the many stresses on the world's water resources and to underscore how greater investments in water and sanitation will help achieve nearly all of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs, also known as Global Goals).

Once you start paying attention to all the ways water flows through our lives, finding inspiration isn't too difficult. Post your own #Blue4Water selfie and tell us where YOU see blue.


Access to safe drinking water and sanitation triggers a "wave" of positive health outcomes!

I see blue when I go to the loo.

No, this isn't a portal to a mystical fairy land. It's the toilet that came with my new house. It may not be a rabbit hole to Wonderland, but I have to admit, it does give going a sense of wonder. Every night, a timer turns this typical toilet into a sapphire throne—proudly emitting a royal hue that says, “I dare you to miss.” Truly, I have to hand it to this cobalt commode for seizing its opportunity to shine. Frills or no frills, toilets deserve all the credit they can get for doing our dirty work. Without them, clean water and sanitation would be mere fantasies. Let's make sure that everyone has access to these powerful tools—every day, not once in a blue moon.

-          Lauren Newhouse


I see blue in blueberries.

Let's hear it for blueberries! Trying to get vitamins and vegetables into my finicky toddler is tough, but these super(food) little gems very often save our day… or dinner. Regardless of where she sets her table, each mother (father, too) knows that healthy food is essential to a healthy, happy kid. But in some countries, nutritious foods at the table are not enough. Where clean water and sanitation aren't available, microscopic threats in their environments relentlessly attack kids. These bugs often infect through the gut, causing chronic inflammation that disrupts nutrient absorption and weakens immune protection from further infections. Sure, blueberries aren't all it will take to give my girl a healthy start. Her plate needs plenty other key foods, too, integrated for an optimal diet. And kids who are especially vulnerable need integration, too: programs that coordinate nutrition and WASH interventions to give them the healthiest possible start. 

-          Deborah Kidd


Where do I see blue?  Among other places: the ocean. 

The calm that settles in when I finally sit and relax, reading a book and listening to the waves, maybe catching a sunset.  I am always reminded of the ocean's beauty, the life sustaining resources, and the potential for destruction. The calm reminds me to be grateful, to be thoughtful, and on this World Water Day, to not forget that our push for universal access to clean water and improved sanitation is not over. 

-          Ashley Latimer


I see blue in an umbrella: as in, an umbrella approach to protect and save lives.

Thanks to El Niño, we recently had a downpour in San Francisco, which led me to dust off a white and blue umbrella that hasn't seen much action in recent years. The rain was a bit novel for me and my sidekick Bogie (who, in case you missed it, has been featured on DefeatDD before—in the 2016 #TravelingPoo calendar!).

Even though in this scenario the umbrella was providing protection against the cold and wet, I think it's also a great symbol for the work it will take to protect health in areas where lack of access to clean water and sanitation puts children at risk for virulent infectious diseases like diarrhea. It will take a combination of tools—under one umbrella—to save lives and promote good health for children everywhere. (See Erika's entire post on the PATH Drug Development blog.)

-          Erika Amaya



World Water Day, March 22, is particularly special to me because, well, it's my birthday! Birthdays have always been a big cause for celebration in my family—no matter the age—and that's the way I think it should be. Birthdays are a celebration of life! For the 663 million people around the world without access to clean water or the 2.4 billion people without access to a proper toilet, children's birthdays cannot be taken for granted. Every day, 1,000 children under five years of age die from diseases caused by unsafe water or inadequate sanitation. By working to improve access to safe water and sanitation, we can help ensure that all children not only get to celebrate their fifth birthday, but also live long and healthy lives full of birthdays, family, friends, adventures, love, and celebrations.

-          Laura Edison


I see blue in precious gems: sapphire and water!

Sapphires are one of Earth's precious gems, though their deep blues remind me of something even more precious - water! Safe drinking water is something that many of us take for granted, yet more than 780 million people do not have access to it. Not only is it a key resource to support life, it is critical for preventing diarrheal disease and pneumonia, the two leading causes of death in children under five years of age. This World Water Day, I'm going #Blue4Water to work toward a world where people everywhere have access to this truly precious gem.

-          Elayna Salak


I see blue in a lifesaving chain reaction.

Thank you, Taylor and Reese (ages 7 and 6, respectively), for giving blue shirts to the children in this #SaveMomsAndKids paper chain on the Reach Act: the perfect #Blue4Water accessory to adorn my desk for World Water Day 2016.

The bipartisan Reach Every Mother and Child Act calls for the scaling up of cost-effective, high-impact solutions - like safe drinking water and sanitation - and for a coordinated, streamlined strategy to end preventable maternal, newborn, and child deaths by 2035. Passage of this legislation would be a great US contribution to Sustainable Development Goal #6 for safe drinking water and sanitation, and I proudly support it! Not just because it's the right thing to do, but because it is so practical.

Research shows that water and sanitation rank as among the highest global development priorities among American citizens, and I count myself among them. We can't live without water, and we can't live well without clean water. I believe global health efforts must address this foundational basic need, which by its very nature will produce a ripple effect of growth for families, communities, and nations.

-          Hope Randall