In honor of World Water Day (March 22, 2019) I thought I would swim over to this category of greenness this week.
Water…the essence of life. Without it everything, EVERYTHING, on earth would die. It is to our bodies as motor oil is to a car’s engine. It’s a lubricant and facilitator. Picture the classic scene of a parched desert floor…cracked and curled plates of dusty earth. Barren of vegetation, it is fragile and inflexible. Think of your skin when it’s dry. Look closely and it resembles that dry desert landscape.
When we need water, we can just walk over to a metal gizmo that when moved, water ushers forth. We drink. We wash our hands or dishes. We fill a vessel and pour it into our houseplants. We let it run in our showers from the big drum in our utility rooms that heats and stores it until it gets hot. The faucet is on while we busily brush our teeth. The kids play in the sprinklers on a non-native lawn that requires huge amounts to keep it alive in the heat of summer. It is bottled and sold. It irrigates crops. It cools office buildings. It fills the air on a muggy July day. It falls from the sky in cool mists, drenching downpours, and fluffy white snow.
We take it so much for granted because it’s everywhere. In the clouds, oceans and lakes, in the bath, in bottles, in us! Earth’s surface is 71% water. Something so ubiquitous surely cannot run out? Can it?
Fresh water can. And has. However you feel about climate change, it’s happening. We can’t deny that some places are getting hotter and others colder. Severe droughts and flooding have thrown us all for a loop. Whether you feel this is natural evolution or a human-caused problem, it doesn’t matter. Politics aside, how do we get back to being good stewards of our most basic resource?
In this recent online article, Paonia, a town on the western side of Colorado…next to the mountains!….has had to turn off their municipal water because of severe drought.
This is a small town! Imagine a larger community! Or a city! This is a symptom of what’s to come.
While I don’t like to dwell on problems, I think it’s important to know and define the challenge so we can create solutions. First and foremost, we can’t just keep using water willy-nilly. And also putting bad things into it and continue to expect top quality faucet emissions. Despite the planet being largely covered with water, it is not readily consumable. Of that 71%, 70% of it is non-potable. Yes, 1% is what we have to work with. And we have to share that 1% with 7.7 billion people.
Do I have your attention yet?
As a Green Cleaning Lady, I have studied the toxicity of what we use to clean our homes. Initially, it was for my research during my stay with cancer. To see if my profession added to my condition. And you know what? It most likely did. Without getting into the minutia, what is generally IN cleaning products is not regulated, or even LISTED for that matter. Do you read the Material Safety Data Sheet (https://www.msdsonline.com/) that is required for EACH product you use in your home? Did you know you have to buy a subscription to get them? Some of the ingredients that most consider innocuous, like “fragrance”, is some of the most toxic crap on the planet! It’s a chemical soup that smells good.
We lather up and clean with this stuff daily and then….POUR IT DOWN THE DRAIN.
Gone, right? No. Not even close.
It has to be processed extensively to remove all the “added” materials from the community. This video explains it quite nicely.
You can see why it’s important to have standards. This is where a government agency, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), enforces those standards. I think we can all agree that we want high values here. If you think you’re bypassing this process by drinking bottled water, depending on what you have purchased, you would be mistaken. You are drinking tap water. Processed water from a municipality. 40% of all bottled water in the US is tap water. You’re just adding plastic unnecessarily. Yet another reason to lose the bottled water habit.
There is no getting away from having to clean our household water. We all poop and pee and shower and wash dirty things with water. What you learned from the video is that we will eventually be drinking the processed water that we used previously to poop and pee and shower and wash dirty things in. This is reality. Unless you have your own well or mountain stream, it’s your tap water.
Would you feel better if you knew EVERYONE properly disposed of some of the waste that shouldn’t be in the toilet/drain in the first place? Did you see that? GUNS!? REALLY? I can’t help but think that we need to be more nature-like in our water usage. You don’t see the deer using Scrubbing Bubbles® in the forest.
“When you know better, you do better.” ~Maya Angelou