The variety of imagery evoked by the word “water” is broad and thought-provoking.
- A cold, refreshing gulp from a glass, wet with condensation
- A hot, steamy shower after a frigid day spent skiing
- Jumping into a backyard pool on a hot summer afternoon
- Diving into the salty waves at the beach
Equally powerful, yet somewhat sobering is the breadth of emotion that is elicited simply thinking of water.
- Warm and cozy feels from images of a gentle spring rain while sipping tea with a good book
- Anxiety from a traumatic hurricane or monsoon deluge flooding a home.
- A smile at the memory of gently floating in an inner tube down a lazy river
- Relived terror with the memory of being caught in the ravages of a tsunami during a once-in-a-lifetime Southeast Asian vacation.
Wherever you land on this spectrum of imagery, whether you experience feelings of comfort and nurturing or tremendous respect for water’s power and force, or perhaps a combination, most of us know how very important water is to our planet, our lives, and the futures of both.
Water is our world, and the conservation of this precious resource is a pillar of the Virginia Aquarium’s mission. We aim to “inspire conservation of the marine environment through education, research, and sustainable practices.” In everything we do at the Aquarium, we are laser-focused on the conservation of water and the life sustained by it, including our own. Our water quality lab carries out important research vital, not only to the health and well-being of our resident animals, but also to the ability of life to thrive in our Chesapeake Bay region and beyond. We are involved in campaigns to inspire changes in societal behaviors that can impact the health of our fresh and ocean waters. We partner with educators to teach the next generation about the importance and fragility of this resource. As part of a coastal community, the Aquarium offers memorable boat trips for people to experience amazing marine mammals in their natural environment, information about enjoying our beaches responsibly so future generations of sandy toes and salt-kissed hair can enjoy them, and so much more that goes unseen by the general public, from stranded animal rehabilitation to marine animal species survival programs with other zoos and aquariums across the globe.
March 22 is the United Nation’s World Water Day 2021. This year the focus is on the value of water. As with the imagery mentioned earlier, the value that is placed on water varies from culture to culture and person to person. While we in the United States might take for granted the ability to simply turn on a faucet in our kitchens, another might relish every drop from the clay vessel that she had to carry on her head from a well miles away. While someone in northern England might be annoyed at the saturated yard after 2 straight weeks of rain, the farmer in the Sudan might be crying out to the sky for a single day of rain on his parched, cracked land. Most would agree, however, that water is valuable, and everyone places some sort of value on it. How about you?
This year for World Water Day, the conversation is just this: What does water mean to you? We have shared just a small glimpse of how we value water. We want to encourage you to add your voice to the conversation by visiting the UN’s World Water Day website HERE. Water has value. Join the conversation and let the world know what this means to you. We look forward to your next visit to the Aquarium and as always, hope you will leave inspired to join our mission.