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Looking to reduce your carbon footprint? Everything you need to know about how to reduce your water waste – one of the best ways to change your footprint!
Water. The most important resource. Yet, one of the biggest problems the world faces today but there are many ways how to reduce water waste.
You may think – well isn’t the planet made up of 70% water. Yes, it is but only 2.5% of that water is accessible freshwater. So, while the oceans are EQUALLY as important for the environment and ecosystem, it is not accessible drinking water.
World Water Day’s theme for 2020 is the relationship between water and climate change – which is undeniably linked. Adapting to the water effects of climate change will protect health, reserve resources, and save lives.
By using water more efficiently, greenhouse gases will be reduced and this will help fight the rate of climate change.
Education and awareness, as with many things, play a huge role in conserving water and climate change. However, there is no more time – in order to change the outcomes that wasting water and climate change is having, we must act.
There are many ways how to reduce water waste that every single person can do.
Every year on March 22, the United Nations recognizes World Water Day to shed light on the importance of universal access to clean water and sustainable freshwater management.
With this year being about climate change, there are many ways to reflect on this and how it is directly related to water.
- The balance between evaporation and precipitation is where climate changes are felt.
- Higher temperatures increase the evaporation rate and that leads to dryer lands while causing excess precipitation in other areas.
- Climate change leads to droughts, floods, melting glaciers, sea-level rise, and stronger storms and national disasters.
As we’re all aware, this World Water Day won’t be the same. There are not likely (and shouldn’t be) events happening as there usually are. Ironically on this World Water Day, people are focused on washing their hands.
While stopping the spread of COVID-19 around the world is of utmost priority right now, there’s no reason why we all can’t learn a bit more about World Water Day and why it’s important. Take this day (you’re stuck at home anyway!) to reflect on the importance of clean, accessible water and ways you can help protect the most important resource and combat climate change at the same time.
If you find yourself incredibly anxious during this time, I’ve put together my best ways to handle anxiety (I have generalized anxiety disorder).
How World Vision is Changing Lives with Water
I wrote this post in support of and partnership with World Vision. They are providing clean water to one new person every ten seconds.
From World Vision’s February 2020 water newsletter:
World Vision exceeded our yearly targets by reaching 3.4 million people with sustainable clean water, 2.6 million people with household sanitation, and 4.3 million people with hygiene behavior change promotion efforts. We also reached an additional 900,000 people with clean water during emergency situations.
There are plenty of ways you can help support this wonderful organization in their efforts to provide clean and accessible water or any of their other projects.
Ways to Celebrate World Water Day in 2020 [aka While Stuck at Home]
- Check out the World Water Day website filled with resources, videos, and stories to learn more about World Water Day’s initiative, theme, and more information.
- Watch a water documentary.
- Aquarela – watch on Hulu, Sling TV
- Cowspiracy – watch on Netflix
- Flint Town – watch on Netflix
- Bottled Life – watch on Youtube
- Flow: For Love of Water – watch on Amazon Prime
- There’s Something in the Water – watch on Netflix (released March 27)
- Forget Shorter Showers
- Secret of Water
- Our Planet – watch on Netflix
- Just Add Water
- Before the Flood – watch on Disney+
- Riverblue – effects of the fashion industry on water supply
- Artifishal – the effects of the fishing industry
- Make an action plan for yourself and your family/roommates on how to reduce your water footprint.
- Start a compost – either in your garden, in your apartment, buy a countertop composter, or sign up for a local composting service.
- Set up a rainwater collection container.
- Fix all those leaks! You may be stuck at home, but that just means you have time to get all those projects done! The average household’s leaks can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year.
- Order coffee from Three Avocados, Inc that uses 100% of the profits to provide drinking water to people in Uganda.
- Order a Soma filter if you don’t already have a water filter. Soma is not only a water filter but a certified B-corp.
Ways to Reduce Your Water [and Carbon] Footprint
Curious what your water footprint is right now? Check it out here. Once you finish, input your email and every three months they’ll remind you to come back and see how you’ve improved. They also give you tips on how to reduce each area.
Adopt a Plant-Based Diet
Most of our water footprint, and therefore carbon footprint, is comprised of food production – specifically animal agriculture.
The meat industry uses the most water of all food production. Let me explain why:
When you grow corn for human consumption, there’s the water to grow the corn, harvest it, and transport it.
When you grow corn for animal consumption for human consumption, there’s the water to grow the corn, harvest it, transport it, and feed it to the animals. THEN, there’s the water used to raise the livestock, transport them, slaughter them, butcher them, and transport the meat.
Additionally, in terms of dairy – cow’s milk has the highest water footprint of all milk. The most environmentally and socially responsible milk [from my own research] is oat milk. It also happens to be the tastiest in my opinion.
By reducing animal agriculture, you significantly reduce your water and carbon footprint.
Buy Only Secondhand or Sustainable Fashion
One of the worst industries out there? The fast fashion industry. It’s horrible for our carbon footprint, for inhumane working conditions, environmental destruction, and animal abuse.
Decrease Everyday Water Usage
This is an important step and something to be very aware of; however, please know there is a lot of greenwashing I feel. There’s a hell of a lot of focus on decreasing your shower time, for instance.
I agree that, yes, you should. But, here’s an example to put things into perspective. The same amount of water it takes to produce one single pound of beef would be the same water you would use to take 135 showers.
So, yes, please reduce your shower time, but know there are ways to decrease your water footprint more efficiently and dramatically.
That being said, here are some great ways to decrease everyday water usage that won’t even affect you:
- Upgrade your toilet if you’re in a position to do so. High-efficiency toilets use significantly less water. However, I would suggest perhaps waiting until you need to replace it as you’re just creating more waste. It’s all a Catch-22 situation. Better yet, get a composting toilet!
- Say ‘Goodbye!’ to the idea of a perfect curated lawn. The “American lawn” is one of the most ridiculous and wasteful things – grass is the single most irrigated crop in the entire country. Instead of using a ton of water to grow and maintain the perfect grass, turn your front lawn into a vegetable garden or a bunch of indigenous plants for bees and butterflies!
- Collect rainwater to water your gardens and even indoor houseplants!
- Don’t leave the water running. Brushing your teeth, washing your hands, washing dishes? Turn off the water while you’re actually brushing or washing. No need to leave it on.
- Only wash dishes and laundry when you have a full load. Running them before that is just wasteful. I know you can set the load size on the washer, but you can’t on a dishwasher so it uses the same amount of water anyway and I’m not convinced washers use less water depending on the setting.
- Eat locally and seasonally. Attempt to purchase your produce from farmers’ markets or CSA’s. In-season produce requires less water, fertilizers, and pesticides. The transportation of fruits and vegetables produced locally involves less GHG emissions, as the distance to the supermarket shelves is much shorter and needs less energy for refrigeration. Additionally, you’re supporting local businesses.
- Eat more produce, in general. Whether local and in-season or not, produce and fresh foods are going to take less water for production than processed foods. And, they’re healthier for you!
Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
Attempt to significantly reduce purchasing new items. Anything that is produced uses water. While decreased water usage, reducing, reusing, and recycling also reduces waste and saves money.
Eliminate Single-Use Plastic Including Bottled Water
It takes at least twice as much water to produce a plastic water bottle as the amount of water contained in the bottle.
Bottled water is either purified water which is just tap water that is filtered – something you can do at home – or spring water. This water is sourced from springs across the country.
Bottled water companies have gone in and depleted water sources and then charged us a tremendous amount of money to buy back that water in plastic.