Friday, October 15, 2010

Blog Action Day - Water Wary

Blog Action Day 2010: Water from Blog Action Day on Vimeo.

Today is Blog Action Day, a once-a-year blogging fest focused on one pressing theme. This year, we’re blogging about water.

Water is so incredibly precious yet so completely taken for granted. If you don’t think so, have a gander at the sobering facts listed below. Access to clean water is becoming more of a challenge now with billions of people clamouring for access, global warming and industrial use.

Global warming is helping to create both deluge, such as in Pakistan, and scarcity, as what we are starting to see in the American southwest and the Canadian prairies. Glaciers are melting, affecting rivers systems that support farms, and rainfall patterns are shifting, placing a big question mark around traditional planting regions. Canada’s water expert,
Dr. David Schindler warns of a century of chronic drought in the Prairies. It certainly doesn’t help that the tar sands are poisoning river systems such as the Athabasca. According to the Pembina Institute, toxic substances become concentrated in tar sands tailing lakes. These lakes may be leaking into the surrounding environment at a rate of 11 million litres per day.

I don’t even want to begin with the oceans, which are 30 percent more acidic than they used to be when we started burning fossil fuel.

So what can we do? Enough with the depressing facts (for your reading pleasure I list more below). How can we take action? As an advocate for carbon slimming, I encourage people to find out how much they ‘weigh’ and commit to shedding at least 10% their carbon weight per year.

As with carbon calculators, you can measure your water consumption via a
Waterfootprint Calculator. It asks you to figure out how many kilograms of certain foods you eat per week, which can be difficult to do. I’m not sure how I measure up to the average North American. Probably pretty good considering I don’t eat meat.

Most Effective Way to Reduce your Water Footprint and Help Protect our Water
  • Eat less meat. Did you know that it takes 24 litres of water to produce one hamburger? That means it would take over 19.9 billion litres of water to make just one hamburger for every person in Europe. Imagine the hamburgers consumed in North America, and, well, yowza! Not only that, but factory farms are one of the leading causes of water pollution. More Info »

  • Buy less stuff. Industry is a big user and waster of water. Reuse. Swap. Purchase items that the repair person can easily repair. Donate items you don’t use anymore. Focus on services rather than stuff for yourself and when buying gifts. More Info

  • Don’t waste food and support local & organic farms. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, for every dollar you spend on fruits, vegetables and grains, 2355 litres or 622 gallons of water has been used. So much food is thrown out because it doesn’t conform to retail standards on what sells. Support your local organic farm and embrace the crooked carrot.

  • Say no to bottled water and yes to stainless steel containers. The US, Mexico and China lead the world in bottled water consumption, with people in the US drinking an average of 200 bottles of water per person each year. Over 17 million barrels of oil are needed to manufacture those water bottles, 86 percent of which will never be recycled. More Info »

  • Be mindful of the water you consume. The average American uses 159 gallons of water every day – more than 15 times the average person in the developing world. More Info »

More Sobering Facts About Water

Technology Footprint: The shiny new iPhone in your pocket requires half a litre of water to charge. That may not seem like much, but with over 80 million active iPhones in the world, that's 40 million litres to charge those alone.
More Info »

Fashion Footprint: That cotton t-shirt you're wearing right now took 1,514 litres of water to produce, and your jeans required an extra 6,813 litres.
More Info »

Waste Overflow: Every day, 2 million tons of human waste are disposed of in water sources. This not only negatively impacts the environment but also harms the health of surrounding communities.
More Info »

Polluted Oceans: Death and disease caused by polluted coastal waters costs the global economy $12.8 billion a year.
More Info »

Uninhabitable Rivers: Today, 40% of America's rivers and 46% of America's lakes are too polluted for fishing, swimming, or aquatic life.
More Info »

1 comment:

Dave Lucas said...

Yay! SAY NO TO BOTTLED WATER! People need to come together on this important issue! Here's a link to my article about water. Thanks for helping us spread the word!