Water is the next oil and it is a vital part of the sustainability of the human race. Water relates to poverty levels, energy consumption, food production and climate change. In other words, it is a global issue. This project plans to empower teens with access to water interactives and simulation and games that pique their interest, offer them choice of topics, and with peer collaboration, work on creating engaging workshops for the public. Water Knowledge is crucial to the health, safety and welfare of citizens. With increased flooding of coastal and urban areas, aging infrastructure, and polluted rivers and water ways, young people need to become agents of change in the system.
Working with teens to expose their imaginations to the wonder and necessity of water opens doors to relationships with water as life ecosystems that are not directly possible in school classrooms. Using the internet as a research and simulation tool, students can calculate the relationship between water, energy, and climate change using WEcalc; they can simulate the improved water infiltration by replanting prairies, forests, and wetlands with the Wiki Watershed. They can experience riverine ecosystems and the importance of the Chicago River and the Great Lakes to the health of the city. This exposure will culminate in student selected projects (like posters, graphic cards, puzzles, which will be produced with guidance and assistance from NEXT.cc and Friends of the Chicago River.)