Monday, January 26, 2009

1st Installment of Eco Action- Water

I'm taking a Sustainable Works workshop- workshops to show you how to decrease your carbon footprint. We all know that sharing is caring, so with that, below are some tidbits and tips to become a more earth-loving person.

This week we discussed water (2 weeks ago). Global water supplies are shrinking and it is our obligation to impede or halt this shrinkage.

(Thanks to James Neeley on
--The Tidbits-- - 1/3 of consumed energy is for pumping water, so if we decrease our water usage, we decrease our energy usage.

- Mississippi and its dead zone: lots of herbicides and fertilizers used in this area--> these chemicals polluted Mississippi's water--> increase in algae (suck in oxygen)--> water with very little oxygen--> decrease in water-life.

- Urban runoff (largest unregulated source of water pollution): water from excess watering (gardens, driveways, etc.) mix with heavy metals and other harmful materials, which then go into the oceans. This pollutes our oceans and their inhabitants.

- Our creeks and wetlands are constantly being paved over by real estate developers. Creeks and wetlands are both natural means to curb urban runoff and cleanse out pollutants.

- When water warms--> water volume increases--> rising sea levels.

- Animal factory farming uses more water than all other industries combined. If you were to refrain from 1 pound of beef that be equivalent to not showering for a year (14 min showers)!

- To make a cotton t-shirt: 10,000 literss of water.
To make an organic cotton t-shirt: 5,000 gallons of water.

- On average, a single family consumes 69.3 gallons of water/day only for indoor usage. If you include outdoor usage, it skyrockets to 350 gallons/day.

- 30% of the water consumed is flushed down the toilet.

The (cheap) Tips:

- Fix leaks. A steady drip can waste 20 gallons of water/day. A toilet leak can waste up to 200 gallons/day.
-- To detect leaks in toilets: add food coloring to the tank--> wait 15 mins--> if color water appears, there's a leak.

- Install a low flow showerhead (2.5 gallons/minute or less). Normal showerheads use 5 gallons/min or more! It decreases water used but increases water pressure. It'll also save you $$ on your monthly water bill.

- Install aerators on faucets. Same as showerheads: decreases water used but increases water pressure.

- Eat less beef and other water consuming foods (from Food Reveolution by John Robbins & according to Soil and Water Specialists from University of CA Agricultural Extension):
-- 1 pound of chicken= 815 gallons
-- 1 pound of pork= 1,630 gallons
-- 1 pound of beef= 5,214 gallons

- If you turn off your faucet while brushing your teeth, you can save up to 1000 gallons/month.

- Take shorter showers and try to not take baths- saves up to 20 gallons/time.

-Turn off water while soaping or shampooing. You can also get Lowest Flow Showerhead- 1.2-1.4 gallons/min without really compromising pressure. If you turn it off, it'll stay warm for you when you turn it back on to rinse. Best of all- $12!

- Decrease water flow in sink so it's no thicker than a pencil's width.

- Wash fruits and veggies all at once rather than individually.

- Allow frozen foods to thaw in refrigerator overnight rather than running water over it.

- Only do full loads of laundry and dishes. Using a dishwasher is more water-friendly than handwashing a full load.

- Plant native and/or drought tolerant plants.

- Refrain from dumping hazardous chemicals down the sink. By doing this, it could worsen urban runoff.


*Much of the information expressed here comes from the Sustainable Works workshops and its handbook.

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