activist

100 Water Heroes: Kiana Alavi

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Engagement Officer (End Water Poverty) at WaterAid

Kiana Alavi is a blogger, photographer, campaigner, humanitarian and activist. She currently works as the Engagement Officer for Wateraid’s End Water Poverty (EWP) initiative. Launched in 2007, EWP is a “global civil society coalition, campaigning to end the water and sanitation crisis.” The movement now reaches over 150 members in more than 90 countries throughout the world. In collaboration with members from a range of backgrounds, from large NGOs to community organisations, they work towards achieving universal access to WASH.

Prior to her work with Wateraid, Kiana worked as the Global Campaign Officer for Save the Children International, on their Every Last Child Campaign. Save the Children International is the world’s leading independent organisation for children. Kiana led the organisation’s Every Last Child Campaign in their goal to “ensure that 15 million of the world's excluded children have access to life-saving healthcare and quality education.”

Co-Authored by Anjani Kapoor, Kiana recently wrote a piece entitled Accountability is the Key to Unlocking the Human Rights to WASH in which she poignantly states:

Judging by the progress levels on reaching SDG 6, many governments are treating these global goals as non-binding and ambitious commitments; but they are in fact achievable, but only if we act now. Stakeholders must stop waiting to take action tomorrow or in the near future and make the necessary changes today. The thought of being asked to not use a toilet to relieve ourselves or to not drink any water until the near future is unthinkable. So why not apply the same principle to our efforts in achieving Goal 6?

Kiana is one of our #100WaterHeroes for her impactful human rights work and for her commitment to ensuring access sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene for ALL.

Twitter: @Kianavi

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/kiana-alavi-3b038a74

100 Water Heroes: Christopher Swain

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Human Rights Advocate and Open Water Swimmer

Christopher Swain is a Human Rights Activist and Open Water Swimmer who has been advocating for clean waterways since 1996. Through his swimming expeditions, Christopher became the first ever person to swim the lengths of the Hudson, Columbia, Mohawk, Charles and Mystic Rivers, as well as significant portions of the USA’s Atlantic coastline and Lake Champlain.

Christopher swims to draw the world’s attention to threatened waterways and encourage related conservation and restoration efforts. Christopher takes photographs, videos and journals throughout his swims, and interviews a variety of stakeholders in the sector. His swims have taken place in a myriad of concerning contexts, and he has come into contact with sewage, nuclear waste and pesticides. All of this to spotlight the global water crisis.

Christopher was the youngest conservationist featured in Rachel White Scheuring’s 2005 book Shapers of the Great Debate on Conservation: A Biographical Dictionary. In 2007, he was awarded the Harry E. Schlenz Public Education Medal from the Water Environment Federation.

Christopher is one of our #100WaterHeroes for dedicating his life to swimming and advocating for our threatened waterways.

Twitter: @SwimWithSwain

Facebook: @SwimWithSwain

Website: http://www.swimwithswain.org/

100 Water Heroes: Dr. Vandana Shiva

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Environmental Leader

Dr. Vandana Shiva is a renowned academic, author, environmental activist and food sovereignty advocate in India. Vandana is based in Dehli, and serves on the board of the International Forum on Globalisation.

Much of Vandana’s career and life has been dedicated to “the defence and celebration of biodiversity and indigenous knowledge,” leading to her being named an Environmental Hero by Time magazine. Varadana looks to the last 40 years of unsustainable practices and technologies as a predominant contributor to India’s water crisis, and sees this as representative of the global water crisis.

Prior to her work as an environmentalist, Vandana obtained her Master's degree at Panjab University, moving on to work at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre. She continued her academic career in Canada, where she earned her Masters in the Philosophy of Science at the University of Guelph. Vandana was awarded her PhD in Philosophy at the University of Western Ontario in 1978. Vandana then moved into interdisciplinary research surrounding science, technology and environmental policy.

In addition to a highly impressive career in academia, Vandana has published over 20 books. Her most recent publication is entitled Making Peace with the Earth (2013), a book that examines the destructive environmental impact of globalisation, arguing that a “shift to earth-centered politics and economics” is necessary for the earth’s restoration.

Vandana is one of our #100WaterHeroes for her fearless dedication to environmental advocacy, and encouragement of biodiversity and traditional knowledge.

Twitter: Dr. Vandana Shiva

100 Water Heroes: Amla Ruia

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Social Activist and Founder of the Aakar Charitable Trust

Known fondly as Water Mother, Amla Ruia is a social activist based in Mumbai, who has reintroduced traditional water harvesting techniques and built check dams in over 100 villages throughout Rajasthan. Rajasthan is an area particularly affected by drought and, in an effort to find a “sustainable and permanent solution for saving water,” Amla founded Aakar Charitable Trust.

The Aakar Charitable Trust relies on community-based approaches to the “protection of natural sources such as water, vegetation and soil as well as the promotion of dynamic education.” Together with local communities, the trust locates landscapes that will naturally capture water, such as a reservoir. Rather than building a dam from scratch, they are able to build check dams by using “the natural contours of the hilly landscape, building slopes, and shoring up spaces, to catch and keep water in these semi-natural basins or check dams” (Peerzeda, 2017).

Under Amla’s leadership, the Aakar Charitable Trust has built over 200 check dams in 100 villages across Rajasthan. The trust supplies 60% of the resources necessary to build a check dam, and relies on the community to provide the remaining 40%. Amla’s reintroduction of this traditional rainwater harvesting technique has transformed the lives of many living in the Rajasthan region, and she has been able to witness these positive shifts first-hand:

“The whole scenario is not changed, it is transformed. Where they couldn’t even own one cattle, they now have eight to nine. Where they couldn’t take one crop, they are taking two — or sometimes even a third crop. Their female offspring are going to school because the mother no longer has to go long distances to fetch water.” (in Jones, 2017)

Amla is one of our #100WaterHeroes for reintroducing traditional water harvesting techniques as a sustainable solution to Rajasthan’s drought, and for engaging local communities throughout the process.

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/amla-ruia-67936a129

Aakar Charitable Trust Website: https://aakarcharitabletrust.weebly.com/

100 Water Heroes: Seth M. Siegel

Water activist, author and speaker

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Seth M. Siegel believes that together, we can solve the world’s water problems. He is a water activist, author, and campaigner for change in water policy in the US and around the world.

After training as a lawyer, Seth pursued a business career and subsequently sold the company he co-founded to Ford Motor Company. He has since spent most of his time on community service, while helping to incubate companies in fields as diverse as financial services, real estate brokerage and digital entertainment. But his heart belongs to water.

Seth’s award-winning, international bestseller Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution for a Water-Starved World speaks to this passion, as does the book he’s currently working on, about the widespread contamination of America’s drinking water, and how to improve it.

Seth M. Siegel is one of our #100waterheroes because of his solution-based emphasis on the global water crisis.

Twitter: @SethMSiegel

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sethmsiegel/

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New York City, USA

Introducing 100 Water Heroes

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Hi, I’m Mina Guli. I’m running 100 marathons in 100 days to show that we can all do extraordinary things when we are inspired by a bigger purpose. For me, that purpose is Water. The world is in a water crisis, and more people need to know about it so we can change our ways.

When I was in my early 20’s I had an accident and doctors told me I’d never run again. But last year, I ran 40 marathons along 6 major rivers around the world.  I saw for myself the devastation of industrial water use, pollution, poor water management, and climate change. I also saw how good policy and public action could restore a once-dead river, like the Thames. With determination we can improve our lives and the world.

I want to use my runs this year to highlight people who are committed to saving water and ending the water crisis. That’s why I’m going to be highlighting a water hero every day for the coming 100 days.

Please follow my journey @minaguli #runningdry, and nominate and celebrate a water hero you know using the #100waterheroes hashtag.