About Us

Email us at      info.h2obig@gmail.com

Monique

It all started on a trip to Southeast Asia while doing my undergraduate in Hawaii where I had every intention of being an international human rights lawyer. But, an encounter with a group of UNICEF workers in rural Cambodia became one of the most eye opening experiences. At that time I was in my early 20’s and had never been exposed to that level of poverty and post-war reconstruction. I saw children drinking straight out of the Mekong Delta and learned about the ongoing destruction of landmines. While in that discussion, the main problem in that particular area was access to clean water. From that moment onward, I knew I had to be in the field of international development. It was even more solidified when I was in Thailand six months after the Indian Ocean tsunami that killed HALF A MILLION people. I assisted in a cleanup effort moving refrigerators, stacking wood from homes, and collecting trash, clothing and broken toys off the beach. It was an experience I will never forget.

Once I got back to the U.S. I immediately started graduate school in Urban and Regional Planning where I focused on international development and humanitarian assistance. Not only is the emphasis on community and social well being vital to my worldview, but it also led to more than I could have ever imagined. I would and will contribute my life as an advocate for those whose voice is a whisper, in the hopes that with empowerment comes change. Considering my strong personality, it was a perfect place for me to be involved!

After finishing Urban Planning, I began a second master’s in Civil & Environmental Engineering, focusing on water resources. I know, I know it is a vastly different field, but it is interconnected and the last piece of my puzzle. It is a skill that will have a tangible impact on health, access, sovereignty, and education.

I have always been involved in whatever community I live, either in my hometown in Western North Carolina, London, or Hawaii. I have volunteered as a mediator for a local NGO assisting in civil disputes, in women’s rights as an advocate, local and state politics as an intern, in immigration as a tutor/mentor, and worked for FEMA, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, and Pacific Partnership as a disaster management planner or water quality engineer. Sorry to make a long story, long, but that is what I do and why I am involved. School finishes in the next year and I can’t wait to see what happens next. Ancora imparo!!

 Me and my dog, Kea, in Hawai‘i

Ariel

As a child raised in Seattle and Cambridge, England, Ariel grew up with an appreciation for water. That’s because it fell on her from the sky pretty much every single day. One Christmas, Ariel’s science nerd of a father got her a subscription to the New Scientist Magazine. In one of the issues there was a piece on the important and yet mysterious nature of water. Little Ariel read it and completely absorbed it. From then on, water was always in the back of her mind.

So Little (Mermaid) Ariel turned into Big Ariel and went off to college. In her freshman year, she went on a service trip to Belize. While there, she met some amazing civil engineers (her original inspirations: Julie Evans, Cara Magoon and Kate Villars) that were using their engineering knowledge to build water systems for people that had no access to clean water. It was a “click” moment for Ariel. She knew right then and there that she wanted to work on water projects in the developing world. She switched her major to engineering and didn’t look back.

She has now just graduated college. In her time there, she went to Belize four times and also participated in Pacific Partnership, a humanitarian mission based on a Navy hospital ship, the USNS Mercy. She is constantly refining and questioning her goals to work on projects in the developing world. It is certain that there is a dire need with some 780 million people without access to clean water. On the other hand, there are a multitude of water issues right here in the USA (note: watch Gasland).

What will never (ever) change is her passion for protecting water. When people ask her why she says, “everyone will always need water, everyday and forever. Also, water is influenced by pretty much everything we do. It’s completely fascinating because it is everything.” If we don’t safeguard it, we’re screwed.

Me mimicking a statue (one of my favorite things to do in pictures) at a cool temple in Cambodia.

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3 thoughts on “About Us

  1. Ariel and Monique–I commend you for your passion about providing safe drinking water to people. It looks like you are just getting started on your careers and your blog. I am from another generation but I share your commitment and I would like to help. We could trade articles or I could help you draw viewers to your blog. Let me know how I can be of assistance.

    Mike

    • Dear Mike,
      Thank you for your kind words! It would be great to get advice from someone with as much knowledge and experience as you. You’re right, we really are just starting out.
      If you could help us to attract followers that would be great! We really want to grow the community so we can get an effective dialogue started. Also any articles that you think are particularly insightful or helpful we would love to see!

      Our main goal is to provide a forum where we engage with the issues and challenges that the water sector faces, both nationally in the USA and globally. We want to showcase the innovations and examine the culture to learn more about how humans manage water and why they do it in certain ways. We would love to have you offer opinions and help us in our endeavors to get this conversation about the importance of water out there!

      • Ariel and Monique–You have been busy on your blog. You are establishing a good foundation of stories–very important.I wanted to follow up on my offer and offer a few tips to publicizing your blog. We could speak on the phone which would be a lot more efficient than email. We could Skype if that would be ok. I can be reached at michael.mcguire390  As usual, it is best to arrange a time to connect beforehand.I have written a short article on helping young professionals that I would like you to consider for h(2)Obig. I have attached it to this email but I am not sure it will come through the wordpress system. If this does not make it, we could arrange a direct transfer by email. I am also interested in publishing something that you would write for safedrinkingwaterdotcom.Let me know what you would like to do.MikeMichael J. McGuireCell: 310 560 0257Please check out my water blog at safedrinkingwaterdotcomTwitter Facebook 

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