Today is World Water Day, and experts everywhere are sounding the alarm about water problems.

We’ll learn about children in distant lands who die from drinking contaminated water and women who suffer sexual assault because they don’t have access to private toilets. We’ll see photographs of urban flooding and the damage it has caused to municipal infrastructure and personal property. We’ll hear more about climate change, persistent drought and rising food prices. Someone will link water scarcity to the destabilization of societies and to violence and human migration. The list of global water problems is endless, daunting and heartbreaking.

But what if the approach these experts use to reach the public – an approach that relies upon graphic stories about humanity’s many water problems – actually doesn’t work, because it makes us less likely to listen?

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