What I learned as a summer outreach coordinator

What interested me the most about the Summer Outreach position with the Freshwater Alliance was its connection to water. Growing up in the Philippines, I always considered myself as a water ba


by. Not only because my parents taught me how to swim at a very early age, but also because I knew early on that water was very important to me, to my country, but also to our future in this planet.

It is this love that continues to drive the way I experience a connection to water and water issues here in BC.

Having the opportunity to work for the Freshwater Alliance was a very enriching experience. Although my time with this passionate and dedicated team was short, I feel very grateful to have been given the time to work under the expertise of the CFA team.

While I had some previous experience in working with both event organizing and environmental sustainability groups, my role as the Summer Outreach Coordinator definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone. The independence that I was given to plan, organize and coordinate events was, at first, daunting. But this feeling was quickly replaced by love and support as I began to know more about the CFA team. In getting to know Coree, Christine, Lindsay, Raj and Elani, I got to know the true spirit of the Alliance - one that is driven by passion, hard work and dedication. This community of leaders was a motivating force and helped me push past my apprehensions and learn to be comfortable in my passion for sustainability.

The most challenging thing about the position was finding the words to tell my water story. While my connection to water was never challenged, I didn’t know how to always relate to regional issues, having a very different water story of my own. What I come to realize was that everyone’s water story is very different but this difference should not be dividing. Instead, it should be diversifying. We all relate to water differently but this goes to show how important it is to protect it. Water affects everyone. Not protecting it means risking a global water crisis--one that disproportionately affects the Global South.

That is why we need to treasure and support our local water champions here in BC. Organizations like Fraser Riverkeepers and Watershed Watch are only a few of the amazing organizations that have dedicated their time to advocating for water sustainability. I can account, first hand, that their willingness to teach, learn and help others on their own water knowledge is awe-inspiring. And I am very thankful to have shared time with them in outreach events and beach clean-ups.

Water is something shared. It is something we share internationally and intergenerationally. It is in this role that I learned that it is so easy to take for granted the things that we love. Swimmable, drinkable and fishable water is a privilege that unfortunately not everyone has. It is something that, if we don’t protect or manage sustainably, can be easily lost.

Here, in British Columbia, it is time we work together to bridge how much we value our shared waters with the way we take care of it. It is time we take an active part on how we want to tell our own water story.