World Water DayWater is essential for all life. Your very existence depends on clean water and so does that of every other plant, animal and microbe on the planet. World Water Day is a great chance to celebrate all that water offers life on Planet Earth, human and non-human.

Your cells couldn’t rehydrate without water, but it’s also necessary to grow our food, keep our gardens vibrant, clean our air and fill rivers and lakes for wildlife and people. Imagine: the flow of water generates about seven percent of electricity in the United States.

The Great Lakes, the largest body of liquid freshwater on the planet, are obviously worthy of celebration on World Water Day. Right in our backyard, Lake Michigan—the third largest Great Lake by surface area—contains an incomprehensible 1,180 cubic miles (4,920 cubic kilometers) of water. Although that seems like an infinite supply, only one percent of lake water around the basin is replenished each year.

Show your appreciation for water this year and help protect our local waters by conserving water at the tap and keeping our waterways trash- and chemical-free. Choosing biodegradable cleaning products and properly disposing of expired pharmaceuticals are a couple easy steps you can take to sustain our lakes. You can also join Shedd’s Great Lakes Action Days beginning this April, and become an active steward of our remarkable home.

-Reid Bogert, Great Lakes and sustainability team