Our world faces many environmental threats, such as global warming, ozone depletion, overpopulation, and the loss of biodiversity (Howard, 2000). Increasing awareness of environmental issues, as well as changing attitudes and behaviors, could result in lifestyle changes that mitigate the damage from these issues (Howard, 2000). It takes many scientists working together to solve complex global matters. The role of psychologists is to understand why people believe the way they do, and to find interventions that change behaviors in a way that supports global sustainability (Howard, 2000).
Water availability is an environmental concern for many places in the world. When addressing environmental issues such as sanitary water availability, issues of gender inequality can also be addressed at the same time. In 25 countries in Africa, women spend a total of 16 million hours gathering collecting and transporting water, compared to 6 million hours spent by men – hours that could be spent working or getting an education (U.N. Women, n.d.). By addressing water sustainability, the socio-economic wellbeing of women can also be improved.
There are numerous actions that organizations like the United Nations have taken, such as building dams to fairly distribute water or teaching people to build functional toilets so that local water supplies are not polluted with waste, meaning less time required for traveling to gather water (U.N. Women, n.d.). Water availability is a global issue that requires action and support from politicians, scientists, and educators. We can all do our part to support sustainable water usage. Check out the UN Women website to learn more about issues of women and water.
Howard, G. S. (2000). Adapting human lifestyles for the 21st century. The American Psychologist, 55(5), 509–515.
UN Women. (n.d.). SDG6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. Retrieved from http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/women-and-the-sdgs/sdg-6-clean-water-sanitation