I would like to think this is my final update...but we all know that projects like this don't "end"! In fact, I need the school year to begin again to get moving with new schools and the EcoMachines we built in schools. Alas, for right now, I have plenty to share.
Having set out to "change the world", I've fallen a little short of that. Okay, maybe a LOT short of that. In the midst of taking two graduate school courses in environmental engineering with titles like "Principles of Water and Wastewater Treatment" and "Wetland Delineation", I have learned more than a little bit about the tremendous importance of the water we drink, wash, cook, and flush.
• The same water that has been on earth from the beginning of time, is the same water that is on earth now. So in essence, we are using the same water that was once used by the dinosaurs.
• Today, there are about 1.1 billion people on earth that do not have access to safe drinking water.
• Currently, there are about 2.4 billion people on earth that do not have adequate wastewater services.
• From all the water available on Earth, about 97 percent are saltwater in the oceans and salt lakes. The water in ice caps/glaciers adds to about another 2.0 percent of the water. The remaining limited balance is the fresh surface in lakes, streams and rivers (about 0.01 percent) and fresh groundwater (about 0.6 percent.)
• Only about 1% of the water used in a house is actually used for drinking, though all of it is filtered and cleaned to be fit for drinking (even the water in the toilet)!
I was not ready for the impact EcoMachines could make locally. Middle and high school students could build them to help solve the problems of our planet’s water! I am excited to share the videos and pictures of these students in the fall. We will be making a short documentary of their thoughts, actions, and reasons for making a classroom EcoMachine. I expect it to be shown throughout the entire county of schools in Maryland.
I am just seeing many of the fruits of our labor too. The summer weather has brought a flurry of growth and changes in our EcoMachine, as well as lots of interest in the crawfish and bluegills from passer-bys. Even better, we decided to make another demonstration EcoMachine that would fit in a typical classroom made exactly for teachers. Now teachers can visit, see the total costs of supplies and time, the instruction manual for building it, and review the curriculum while watching it work before their eyes!
I guess in a small way, I haven’t changed the world. The world has helped change me and my community has changed to embrace the world.