Since the start of the Water School in 2008, more than 330,000 Chinese students and community members have helped restoreing a sustainable ecosystem of the Yangtze River.
The Yangtze, China’s most famous river, has shaped the development of China, its history, its civilization and its culture. Bruised by human activities for centuries, it has become a receptacle of pollution, constituting itself the largest source of pollution of the Pacific Ocean. It is one of many examples of water pollution around the world.
Every year millions of people are severely affected by poor water quality, scarcity and floods. Several billions lack access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation.
Water, more so than any other natural resource, is a shared resource, uniting people, communities and habitats across the world. It is crucial for all living organisms and ecosystems; it is essential for human health, food production and security.
Applying interactive and experimental teaching and learning methods, the Chinese Water School shows how Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) addresses pollution and unsustainable use of water resources. It raises awareness among students of the makes aware of positive and negative impacts of human activities on the water cycle and shows ways to take action for a more sustainable management and use of water.
Since 2008, the Water School has carried out over 1,100 interactive and innovative water education activities. Based on its successes, it will extend its scope to involve more schools and broader communities living in key watersheds across China until 2018.
UNESCO is one of the key project partners. Implemented by the Shangri-la Institute for Sustainable Communities, the Water School was one of 25 ESD good practices presented at the 2009 UNESCO World Conference on ESD.