Water covers about 70 percent of the Earth's surface. Water is essential to life and our way of life, impacting our environment, health, economy, and cultural and societal relationships. Yet climate change is impacting our water systems. Oceans have absorbed much of the increased heat, with the top 700 meters (2,300 feet) of ocean showing warming of more than 0.4°F since 1969. Higher global temperatures disrupt the delicate balance of the ecosystems that wildlife require to survive. Impacts of climate change include changes in water chemistry, mating and rearing, migration, habitat loss, and disease.
Our actions impact ecosystems as water travels throughout our nation’s watersheds, filtering through diminishing wetlands and into majestic struggling oceans. Through behavior change, innovative technology, and green and brown infrastructure, the future stewards of this planet can improve the health of these critical systems.
The Watersheds, Oceans, & Wetlands (WOW) subpathways focus on the unique needs and concerns of water outside the school building. Schools can address any one or more of the subpathways within WOW to receive recognition when applying for an Eco-Schools USA award.