Filed under: J500 Week 10, Justice + Outreach, Society + Media, Waste + Recycling | Tags: Brita, clean water, Conserve water, dirty water, water, water shortage, water shortage solutions, World Water Day
I hear cars sloshing around the puddles that fill the unnaturally high amount of potholes that spot Lawrence streets outside my window.
I take a sip of the Brita-filtered water that fills my glass next to my computer.
I hear the flow of the water through the pipes of the incredibly thin walls of my apartment building while my roommate takes a shower.
But do I actually sit back and think about where this water is coming from? Do I realize that 1 in 8 people has to live without clean drinking water? I take for granted that when I turn on my sink, clean, drinkable water will flow. I even complain when it takes too long to achieve that perfect temperature.
With World Water Day just a few days ago, it seems relevant to talk about one of the most important issues that plagues our planet today. While we in developed countries take it for granted that our government will take care of our water, and with the taxes we pay, give us the cleanest, safest, and best access to water wherever we are, many developing countries throughout the world are not given that luxury. As Americans, on average, we consume about 400 liters of water per day. In desert cities like Phoenix, Arizona, their consumption increases up to about 1,000 liters to keep their lawns looking like they live in Ireland. Comparatively, in third world countries such as Mozambique, the average use is just 10 liters. And that 10 liters probably isn’t even safe to drink.
So, how are we, as a world of only 2.5% freshwater, going to deal with world water shortages, and give access to those who don’t already have clean drinking water? There are many solutions out there, but there are some you can do at home that will help you and the whole world.
Conserve your own water. While you probably don’t think you’ll be able to make that trip to Mozambique to help install a well for a poor area in the bush anytime soon, you can conserve your own water usage by doing a few things:
- Take a shorter shower.
- Fill the sink to wash your dishes instead of individually rinsing them.
- Keep a pitcher of water in your fridge. That way, you won’t have to wait impatiently for the sink to make ice-cold water.
- If you live in a climate that can’t naturally support an English garden, maybe it’s time you gave up that green lawn. Places like Phoenix and Los Angeles were never meant to look like Seattle. Maybe designing a desert garden could be a good alternative.
- Learn about your world. Without access to clean, safe, drinking water, many of those you share this big planet with are actually dying. Understanding their plight could help motivate you to stop running the faucet while brushing your teeth.
- Never think you can’t make a difference.
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