The critical waterways of our nation are facing a grave threat as a result of global warming, increasing human water consumption, and other human-made impacts. The American West is experiencing an alarming crisis, with the longest drought in 1,200 years. Among the most endangered rivers are two vital lifelines, the Rio Grande and the Colorado River, which tragically continue to shrink with each passing day.
The Rio Grande stands out as one of the most imperiled waterways in the United States. National Geographic Photographer Pete McBride, who has spent years documenting the world’s natural wonders, witnessed the dramatic changes caused by the disappearance of freshwater. In response, he dedicated the past two decades to raising awareness about this pressing issue through his photography and storytelling. McBride urges individuals and companies to take action to preserve our rivers and water sources.
McBride’s mission is to make people realize how fragile and precious our freshwater systems are and why we must treat them with care, like beloved family members. When we exploit them beyond their limits, they vanish before our eyes.
A collaboration with Finish Dishwashing is adding to the efforts to raise awareness of the freshwater crisis across the country. The Finish brand partnered with a Texas sculptor to create a unique monument that symbolizes the crisis. Crafted from native Texas limestone, the HOPEFUL MONUMENT draws inspiration from the rock formations, waterflows, waterfalls, and unique flora and fauna found in many endangered bodies of water in the Southwest. Placed at the bottom of a lake in a vulnerable area in Texas, this monument is designed never to be seen unless water levels drastically decline. Unlike traditional monuments that commemorate the past, the HOPEFUL MONUMENT aims to inspire action for the future, urging us all to protect our most precious resource: water.
McBride emphasizes that our drinking water primarily comes from rivers and lakes, and without them, our taps will run dry and become polluted. He has personally documented the water crisis in the American West through his award-winning film, “Chasing Water,” and his book, “The Colorado River: Flowing Through Conflict.” McBride, a Colorado native, advocates for the protection of American rivers, which he refers to as the “arteries” of our nation.
The Rio Grande, a lifeline for more than 16 million people in the US and Mexico, is vanishing at an alarming rate. The river, which originates in the Rocky Mountains and forms part of the US-Mexico border, faces threats from agricultural withdrawals, rising temperatures, and unprecedented drought.
The Colorado River, known as the “lifeline of the West,” provides drinking water to 40 million people in the US, sustains hydropower in eight states, and is vital to 30 tribal nations and agricultural communities. However, it is also the most endangered river in the US due to overuse and historic drought. The effects of climate change and overallocation have prevented the Colorado River from reaching the sea for two decades, leading to a significant reduction in its water levels.
To combat the water crisis, McBride urges everyone to take action in their daily lives. Becoming more aware of waterways, advocating for rivers, and implementing water-saving practices are essential steps. He suggests reducing meat consumption, using water-efficient plants in yards, limiting water usage, and embracing practices like using dishwashers instead of pre-rinsing dishes. Finish’s ‘Skip the Rinse’ campaign also contributes to water conservation by encouraging consumers to skip pre-rinsing dishes, saving significant amounts of water annually.
The water crisis is a complex issue, but with individual and collective efforts, there is hope to protect and preserve our most valuable resource: water. By taking action now, we can ensure that our rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and water bodies continue to sustain life for generations to come.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about WaterCrisis
What is the main issue discussed in this text?
The main issue discussed in this text is the water crisis affecting America’s vital waterways due to global warming, human water use, and other human-made impacts.
What are the two most endangered rivers mentioned in the text?
The two most endangered rivers mentioned in the text are the Rio Grande and the Colorado River.
Who is Pete McBride and what is his role in addressing the water crisis?
Pete McBride is a National Geographic Photographer and Explorer. He has spent years documenting the world’s natural places and raising awareness about the disappearance of freshwater. McBride is actively involved in environmental advocacy to protect American rivers, including the Colorado River and other water resources.
What is the HOPEFUL MONUMENT, and how does it contribute to raising awareness about the water crisis?
The HOPEFUL MONUMENT is a one-of-a-kind sculpture made from limestone native to Texas. It was crafted in collaboration with Finish Dishwashing and a Texas sculptor. The monument draws inspiration from rock formations, waterflow, and unique flora and fauna found in endangered bodies of water in the Southwest. Placed at the bottom of a lake in Texas, it is designed never to be seen unless water levels drastically decline. The monument aims to inspire action for the future and encourages people to protect their most precious resource: water.
How does Pete McBride suggest individuals can help conserve water and address the water crisis?
Pete McBride suggests several ways individuals can help conserve water and address the water crisis. These include becoming more aware of waterways, advocating for rivers, reducing meat consumption (as meat production requires a lot of water), using water-efficient plants in yards, and reducing water usage in daily activities like dishwashing. He also supports the “Skip the Rinse” campaign by Finish Dishwashing, which encourages people to skip pre-rinsing dishes before placing them in the dishwasher, saving up to 20 gallons of water each time.
More about WaterCrisis
- National Geographic: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/
- Finish Dishwashing: https://www.finishdishwashing.com/
- “Chasing Water” film by Pete McBride: [Link to the film](Film not available online)
- “The Colorado River: Flowing Through Conflict” book by Pete McBride: [Link to the book](Book not available online)
- American Rivers: https://www.americanrivers.org/