Akhila is a Justmeans staff writer for CSR and ethical consumption. As an IEMA certified CSR practitioner, she hopes to highlight a new way of doing business. She believes that consumers have the immense power to change 'business as usual' through their choices. She is a Graduate in Molecular Biology from the University of Glasgow, UK and in Environmental Management and Law. In her free-time she i...
Green Living: Know your Water Stats
Last week, something went wrong with a water pipe at home and there was literally no water for the whole day. It is times like this when you truly appreciate that precious liquid that comes streaming out of the faucet so easily every time you turn in on. Taking water for granted is so easy for so many of us, but is it a matter of life and death for many other people in the world.
Violence over water rights is becoming common place. Just this summer, riots broke out in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh over lack of water. To live a sustainable life, water awareness is extremely important. Consider these facts:
- Every week, 42,000 people die from unsafe drinking water
- The top five biggest average daily users of water are the US, Australia, Italy, Japan, and Mexico - all five of these use well over 300 liters daily
- The countries where water poverty is the worst and water usage is the lowest are Mozambique, Rwanda, Haiti, Ethiopia, and Uganda - these five use 15 liters or less daily
- Countries like India and China have massive water problems due to high population, rapid growth of mega-cities, pollution, higher use of water for agriculture and industrial purposes.
As a person who is concerned about green living, conservation of water should be a priority. If you haven't invested in a low-flow shower head or smaller capacity toilet tanks - do it now; it will pay for itself in a surprisingly short amount of time. Leading a lifestyle that is mindful of carbon footprint alone is not enough, thinking about water resources is essential because as with everything else, it is a finite resource.
Consider these facts which might help you on your way to a more sustainable lifestyle.
- It takes an estimated 39,090 gallons of water to make a car
- 1,800 gallons of water to produce just one pair of regular blue jeans. It takes considerably more energy and water if you opt for a distressed pair
- It takes a whopping 400 gallons of water to make an ordinary cotton shirt
- 53 gallons to make every cup of coffee to-go
- It takes 1.85 gallons of water to manufacture the plastic for the bottle in the average commercial bottle of water
These figures do not even consider the amount of water it takes to grow our food. Obviously meat and dairy takes a lot more water than vegetarian sources. According to waterfootprint.org, you can not only make a serious impact by reducing carbon by choosing a diet that is not meat-heavy, your water footprint is also lower. As an example, it takes 2500-5000 gallons to grow a pound of beef versus 15 gallons for a pound of lettuce. Not ruling out beverages, it takes 58 gallons to make 8 oz. of wine and 7 gallons to make 8 oz. of tea.
We are rapidly losing our fresh water supplies and if current trends continue, we are at risk of collapsing the planet's water systems in fifty years. About time we stop taking water for granted and think about ways to stop wasting it and just turn off the tap every once in awhile.