Message from Karen Kun,
Waterlution has always placed young people at the heart of everything we do, and there is nothing more energizing than working with youth. Looking back on the past decade, I’m incredibly proud and humbled by the work our team has accomplished in building formative skills for future young water leaders.
As we look to the future at Waterlution, we use language such as compassion, empathy and integrity, in response to crisis, fear and uncertainty. You will learn throughout our website and initiatives that water is a deeply social issue, and now more than ever, supporting future young leaders that are engaged, empowered, and equipped to face the future of water is crucial. Through our experiential learning programs, we aim to continue to provide young people with an opportunity to build the core skills needed in the 21st century to face the growing needs of our planet with confidence and adaptability.
As trends and platforms for social engagement change, we adapt and encourage creativity in our effort to provide the most robust, inclusive and creative programs we can imagine. This includes a growing and flourishing relationship with art and artistic mediums that inspire people to be connected to our communal life force in water.
Since 2003, we have engaged directly with over 6000 participants through our training workshops, hub events, community events, and growing worldwide Water Innovation Labs. We measure our success by how deeply people are connected to water, and it is endlessly heartwarming to see the number of those impacted by our work, because our guiding force and metaphor for everything that connects us to one another, is water.
Wherever you find yourself in the world, humans, animals and plants in those ecosystems simply cannot survive without water, and because of stress due to climate change and consumption patterns, we see a resulting inequality of access. We must ask ourselves, can water be a catalyst for decreasing global inequality? This is a central question to our work going forward.
The growth of our Water Innovation Labs (WILs) are a testament to us holding ourselves to the same high standard we expect from the participants we engage. We have learned that there is a growing need to cultivate 21st century skills in youth that go beyond what is accessible in a classroom setting because they offer more than purely technical, mathematical and scientific skills. Adaptability being one core skill that we not only build into our labs but use in practice as we approach each new event, to curate the most immersive, creative and innovative learning experience possible. What we offer are learning techniques in communication, analysis, collaboration, and creativity in dynamic social situations. We are better leaders when we work together, combining cross-disciplinary backgrounds and cultures. We aim to inspire individuals of all backgrounds to join in the conversation and participate because the act of showing up is part of that experience. Showing up means that you are giving yourself permission to immerse yourself in possibility and progress. This is what drives me to continue building relationships across the world and why I encourage young people to access these opportunities, in order to do the same.
As a Canadian organization, we are especially proud of the work we’re doing with Greatness – the Great Lakes Project. We are in the early days of this endeavour and our first featured project was the Great Art for Great Lakes initiative where artists across eight Great Lakes communities were invited to submit proposals for participatory art engaging their region to showcase and celebrate the grandeur of these waters. Also, through our Great Waters Challenges, we’ve solidified our practice to provide gamified processes that engage school-aged youth to understand and feel the value of our “great waters” within themselves and their communities. It has been our experience that when you create an opportunity for people to care about something, they will cherish it and do more to protect it.
If you’re reading this, we encourage you to join us as participants, resource guests, mentors, teachers, trainees, facilitators, and enthusiasts from all disciplines — we look forward to meeting you and learning alongside you in the years ahead.
Executive Director and co-founder