Today is a day that spurs action for those that love water, and while I am interested in many environmental issues, my strongest draw and passion is water. Water is life and security (you can read my thoughts about the latter on today’s GoGreenWebDirectory.com blog in “A Water-Secure Future for All”)!
So for World Water Day and World Water Monitoring Day (both today!) I am casting the water-love and conservation message far and wide and pitching it to everyone that I speak with. Here’s a short list of things you can do today to fly your water-caring flag:
1. Carry your refillable water bottle and drink tap water.
Bottled water is a huge drain on limited freshwater resources globally. Read about how it’s wasteful, and some local grassroots solutions that “Take Back the Tap” in my Web site field notes.
2. Read about Global Water Challenge, a coalition of water groups working on the national and international levels to address water and sanitation access challenges. Their mission is sustainable, scaleable, and replicable projects and there is an impressive showcase of real world solutions. Knowledge leads to understanding!
3. On your spring cleaning chore list, (Happy Spring, btw!) add “fix water leaks.”
That toilet, outdoor garden hose, and sink could be leaking and wasting enormous amounts of potable freshwater. According to the the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), if slow leaks lose one gallon of water in 10 minutes, homeowners pay for 144 gallons per day, or 52,560 gallons per year. USGS claims that most American toilets have a constant leak of 22 gallons per day! If your street has 10 homes on it, in one year’s time it could be leaking as much as 80,300 gallons.
4. Planning a kitchen or bath makeover? Upgrade old 3 gpm toilets to 1 gpm and switch to low-flow shower heads and sink aerators.
According to BillEater dot com, “the average shower head uses 5 gallons of water per minute (gpm) while a low flow model will deliver 2.5 gpm or less. For an investment of around $10 -$20 you can save $50-$75 per year on your water bill and $20-$50 or more per year on heating bills ( for the hot water ), depending on your current showerhead and utility rates.” But such a simple upgrade also translates to cutting your shower water usage in half–for just one yuppie food stamp. Cha-ching for the water bank!
5. Reconsider your cleaners!
Think of it this way, everything that goes down any drain and washes into the street has enormous potential to sully our local beaches and reservoirs, and ultimately the World’s ocean. In July 2008 I wrote about how such things affect my local watershed for Salem News–here’s a link to the piece.
There’s now some great green cleaners available in the marketplace, but I have been making my own household cleaners since 2008. It’s cheaper, and I waste less packaging in doing so.
If you are interested, I’ll send you a PDF article of “Abandon Complex Chemicals”–the story of my $60 conversion to green cleaning and how-to, which I hand out to participants of my 90-minute “Crash Course in Green Quick Fixes.” E-mail me at afox [at] msgreenquickfixes [dot] com with “Article Request” in the subject line.
Otherwise, look for phosphate-, petrochemical-, and petroleum-based-product-free cleaners. Note chemicals inhaled invade the blood stream, and once transferred from the lungs, are also absorbed in the digestive tract. They disrupt reproduction and other endocrine and neurological functions. Look for ammonias, chlorines, ethers, ethanols, ethyl sulfates, benzyl ammonium chlorides, various penta-hopped sodiums, and other unnamed “surfactants” and ingredients modern cleaners may contain. Note that before the 1970s when President Nixon passsed the first toxicology law, more than 60,000 chemicals and carcinogens were grandfathered in, and due to certain U.S. labeling laws, such ingredients do not have to be listed on the label–even if they claim to be “All Natural.” The best rule of thumb: Look for cleaning products that do list their ingredients.
For questions about my Crash Course or other speaking opportunities, you can reach me here.