With all of the negative information out there about what’s happening to our environment, it’s all too easy to feel like there’s not much you can do to change it. That’s why we want to showcase these four all-star organizations for their efforts — and achievements — toward keeping our water clean.
Because clean water is an issue with so many moving parts, it’s going to take a lot of different approaches to help move the needle — there’s no single right answer. We’re grateful to these groups for their unique roles in creating positive change.
The Ocean Cleanup
The Ocean Cleanup has the ambitious goal of removing 90 percent of floating plastic from the world’s oceans. Ocean plastic impacts over 600 marine species and will likely have increasing effects on human health as well. To halt this toxic pollution, the Ocean Cleanup develops, pilots and implements breakthrough solutions to clean plastic out of the ocean as well as the world’s rivers, which are responsible for a large amount of the plastic that ends up in the ocean.
In the ocean, they are tackling the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, using natural ocean currents to collect ocean plastics with a large net. In rivers, they deploy trash barges to passively collect floating debris before it reaches the river’s mouth.
The nonprofit was founded by Boyan Slat at age 18, the youngest ever recipient of the UN’s highest environmental award. His inspiration? A scuba diving trip. At 16 he was diving off the coast of Greece and was shocked to find more plastic than fish in the water. He began his plans for a solution then, and hasn’t given up since.
Lonely Whale tackles one of the most elusive aspects of our water crisis: human behavior. They create striking impact campaigns designed to drive behavior change and create cultural momentum around new ways of thinking and acting.
The folks at Lonely Whale are the masterminds behind the Strawless in Seattle and #StopSucking campaigns, which began with a month-long plastic straw ban in Seattle, and resulted in not only a permanent city-wide straw ban, but a global movement reaching over 40 countries and territories, and straw bans across the US, Europe and Asia.
Their most recent campaign is Question How You Hydrate, aimed at reducing single-use plastic water bottle waste. Join the movement by using the hashtag #HydrateLike the next time you drink water from anything that isn’t plastic.
Sawyer is the creator of affordable, high-performing water filtration systems, well-known by campers and backpackers. Their bucket adapter filtration systems are affordable and can last over 10 years, while achieving the highest EPA standards for drinking water (filtering out harmful bacteria and protozoa as well as viruses). Sawyer’s international branch partners with charities to produce their water filters in different locations around the world and provide simple-to-use, high-performing, low-waste clean water systems to people everywhere.
Eliminating waterborne disease has a huge economic impact in many places, because it removes the need for frequent medical care while allowing people to attend work or school when they would otherwise be sick at home. Additionally, in places where people were previously boiling water for sterilization, water filtration has a great environmental impact because trees are no longer needed to burn for fuel. Sawyer estimates they have saved 475 million trees in the course of their international efforts.
charity: water is a nonprofit organization working to bring clean, safe drinking water to people in developing countries. Primarily they act as a project coordinator and high-impact fundraiser. So far, they’ve funded 56,759 water projects for over 11 million people around the world. When you donate to them, all of your money goes directly to their projects, not their overhead.
charity: water collaborates with local experts, community members and stakeholders to determine what solution would work best in a given location as well as what options are sustainable. Some of their projects include wells, piped water systems, water filtration, and rainwater harvesting systems. For every project they take on, they make sure training is conducted and community members take ownership through a local water committee to ensure the project remains successful for many years.
Help Us Create a More Sustainable World
At Skyewater Photo + Film, we’ve made a commitment to support programs and nonprofits around the world who are working hard to clean waterways, reduce plastic waste, and improve the global water crisis. Learn more about our donation program, or explore more ways you can get involved and help us make a difference.