FIRST PUBLISHED APRIL 12, 2015
I fear, lest we take the issue of water conservation seriously, the title of this blog soon will come to pass. Personally, I don't want to leave it up to the next generation to save the planet. I would like to think all of us want to take responsibility to be good stewards of the earth. As grandparents, we have an obligation to our grandchildren to make this earth a healthy and vibrant home for them and their children and grandchildren. The planet is suffering in myriad ways, but the use and misuse of water lays heaviest on my heart. Perhaps it's because my oldest granddaughters live in California, a state that is in serious jeopardy of major, life-threatening drought.
We need to be very concerned about this precious natural resource. The Environmental Protection Agency states that "less than 1% of all the water on Earth can be used by people. The rest is salt water or is permanently frozen and we can't drink it, wash with it, or use it to water plants. As our population grows, more and more people are using up this limited resource. Therefore, it is important that we use our water wisely and not waste it."
I couldn't agree more. The fact that our own bodies are made up mostly of water should convince us we need to preserve our water sources. Humans will actually die first of dehydration before they could starve to death. We cannot go long without water to sustain us. That said, what are we doing to be proactive in conserving water? First of all, are we discussing critical environmental issues with our children? What are we doing as individuals, families, schools, faith communities and the wider communities in which we live when it comes to environmental concerns? How are we reducing our carbon footprint?
One thing I realized I was doing and wasn't even aware of it was letting the water run as I brushed my teeth. Turning off the faucet while you perform your toiletries can make a huge difference. I also no longer flush every time I use the toilet, but try instead to follow the old adage, "If it's yellow, let it mellow; if it's brown, flush it down." This might sound disgusting to some, but two or three uses of the toilet before flushing is not going to stink up your house. (If you're concerned it might, lower the toilet seat lid and shut the bathroom door.) This one simple practice can save gallons and gallons of water!
There are many websites filled with water-saving tips and advice for adults, and I encourage you to read them and put them into practice. But the following are things to discuss with kids about how they can save water:
- Run your dishwasher and washing machine only when they are full.
- There's nothing quite like a long, hot, luxuriating shower, but that's not a good way to conserve water. Try to limit your time in the shower to five minutes or less.
- I know I'm going to upset bath lovers, but you should limit the number of baths you take. A tub full of water uses anywhere between 35 and 70 gallons of water as opposed to the10 to 25 it takes for showering.
- If you drop ice cubes on the floor, don't throw them in the sink. Instead, plop them into a house plant and let them melt.
- Tell adults when faucets are dripping if tightening the handle doesn't work.
- Make your friends and other family members aware of your good water conservation habits. Encourage them to do the same!
- Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator for drinking water instead of getting it from the tap.
- If your toilet won't shut off, it means water is continuously running through it. Ask your parents to fix it. If you think you have a leak, add a few drops of food coloring to the tank. If the toilet bowl water turns that color before you've flushed, you have a leak. Ask your parents to fix that, too.
- Need to dispose of a tissue? Throw it in a trash can, don't flush it down the toilet.
- Collect rain water in a barrel or tub and use it to water plants and gardens.
- Walk through the house before you leave it or go on vacation to be sure all faucets are completely turned off and no toilets are running.
- Watch videos and documentaries about water conservation and ways to reduce our carbon footprint with your family. Be knowledgeable about what is happening to Mother Earth and how we can all help save the planet.
We need to remember in the midst of our water-saving endeavors to maintain our own hydration. When you consider that nearly all human illnesses are a result of dehydration, it's pretty apparent the majority of us simply do not drink enough water. In case you don't know, the general rule of thumb for adequate intake is to divide your weight in half and drink that number of ounces each day. So please drink plenty of water to stay as healthy as possible.
Even if you only do one thing to help save water, it will make a huge impact. Imagine if everyone around the globe did just one thing. So much more water would be available for generations to come! Now imagine if everyone did everything listed above. Wouldn't that be wonderful? Let's not allow the title of this blog to ever, ever happen!