In October-November 2014, renowned polar explorers and educators Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft will lead a team of six women, from six continents, on an 2525 km (1,569 mile), 60-day long expedition following the River Ganges from Gaumukh to the Bay of Bengal.
Each of the women will be representing the key water challenges on their continent. Their journey will be the centerpiece of a global awareness and outreach program that will spur us all to join hands in solving our global water crisis.
The expedition will embrace worldwide media coverage, the global classroom and conscious business partnerships to create awareness of the critical water crisis and to encourage a move to action on global and local levels.
The project is designed to complement the efforts of international conservation organizations, institutions, government and enterprise on this vitally important subject. As with the other successful Bancroft-Arnesen expeditions, this project will make a determined effort to engage with youth by means of technology and a tailored educational methodology and curriculum.
Our goal is to reach 2 million classrooms and 50 million youth.
The expedition provides a unique partnership opportunity for organizations that are committed to the same values as those celebrated by Bancroft Arnesen Explore:
- Environment, currently emphasizing the fresh water crisis;
- The essential role of education in making sustainable changes;
- Empowerment of girls and women to achieve their dreams;
- Cross-cultural communication and understanding;
- The ability of each person to make a difference in the world
Humans need fresh water to survive. We grow food with it, drink it, cook with it and bathe in it. We use it to create the goods and services that form our global economy. There is no substitute for fresh water. It is more crucial for human survival than any source of fuel.
But fresh water is becoming scarce. One in eight people lack access to clean water and more than three million die each year from water-related health problems. Battles for water are creating tensions between people, interests groups and regions. In some cases, they are causing armed conflicts. Left untouched, these challenges will only worsen. Within just 15 years from now, nearly two billion people will live in areas of severe water scarcity. The consequences are clear.
We can solve the water crisis by bringing it to the forefront of the global agenda. This means raising awareness on water access issues, promoting resource efficiency and cooperation on the problems of pollution and climate change.
• 1.1 billion people in the world do not have access to safe drinking water, roughly one-sixth of the world’s population.
• 2.2 million people in developing countries, most of them children, die every year from diseases associated with lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene.
• Half of the world’s hospital beds are filled with people suffering from water related illnesses.
Source: Blue Planet Network
• 400 million residents rely on the Ganges for water, food, bathing, and worship.
• In 2007, the Ganges was rated one of the top 5 most polluted rivers in the world.
• One segment of the river was found to contain fecal coliform levels over 100 times teh official limits set by the Indian government.
• Water shortages have a major impact on the human and animal inhabitants along teh river, with the average depth in some areas diminishing from 60 down to 10 metres deep.
• Pollution not only threatens humans, but also 140 fish species, 90 amphibians and the Ganges Dolphin or the Blind Dolphin.