In the early 1990s, the United Nations established March 22 as World Water Day in an effort to bring awareness to global water issues. Over 20 years later, water is perhaps more sacred than ever.
The water crisis is the number one global risk, based on impact to society. 1 in 10 people in the world lack access to safe water. Oh, and update: Flint, Michigan is STILL included in that figure.
As an environmentalist mermaid myself, I’d like to encourage us all to think more critically about water. That’s why I’d like to use World Water Day as an opportunity to highlight these critical issues and what you can do to help.
Water is a finite resource
We’ve been hearing a lot of “water is life” in the media lately (mainly from the Dakota Pipeline Protests). But it’s a cliché that we often take for granted. Without water, humans and our planet would exist.
If you’re anything like me, I never thought twice about my water use growing up. I was privileged enough that I didn’t have to think twice about drinking the tap water straight from the sink. I never thought about conscious water use, as I assumed that there was surely plenty of water to go around.
Here’s the truth: no matter where you are in the world, water is a finite resource. The global South understands this much more than the global North, who uses a disproportionate amount of water in the world.
This year, the UN is focusing on wastewater management for world water day. Why? Because 80 percent of global wastewater flows back into ecosystems without being treated or reused, according to the United Nations. Currently unsafe water causes around 842,000 deaths each year.
As the UN states, “By 2030, global demand for water is expected to grow by 50 percent. “
How to cut down on water use
It’s time we all cut down on our water consumption. But this is simpler said than done. Can we really cut back on 20 minute hot showers and leaving the sink running while doing dishes? This is a luxury only some can afford.
Here is a great breakdown of 190 ways you can efficiently cut down on your water use, including fixing leaky faucets, which can add up to 5 gallons or more of lost water a day, and washing clothes in cold water.
Realistically, I know most of us won’t do all of these on this list. But try picking 5 items that you fully commit to.
And of course, one of the best ways to cut water consumption is by cutting down on meat. No, I’m not saying this as a devout vegan, but as someone who has significantly cut back my meat intake. A single pound of beef takes 1800 gallons of water. (Check out this info graphic).
Support conscious water use through travel
As 2017 is the year of Sustainable Travel, we are beginning to see a transformation of the tourism industry for the better. At the forefront of these efforts is Visit.org, the world’s largest community based tourism platform with 545 immersive and impact travel experiences in 65 countries.
I am honored to be a part of the Visit.org’s ambassador team, and to be a part of a platform promoting sustainable travel. In partnership with do-good organizations around the world, 100 percent of host revenues are invested back into the local economy. THIS is the direction the tourism industry needs to take.
Improve Water supplies through Community Based Tourism. Even better, many of Visit.org’s partners are dedicated to improving water supplies around the world. For example, travelers can visit Eco Filtro, a social enterprise in Guatemala, to learn about their water filtration process that supplies clean water to local underfunded Guatemalan schools, each visit funds an entire water filter.
There is also Entanda Discovery Tour in Uganda with proceeds providing clean water to the villagers. Guest can experience rural mountain life in Ooty, India with RDO Trust while supporting their efforts to supply the community with safe drinking water.
Through a combination of awareness, water conservation, and community-based tourism, we can work together to make the water crisis into a solution.
Join me in making waves of changes.
Will you take the pledge towards conscious water use? Share this post or comment below!
*Disclaimer: I am an ambassador for Visit.org. All my opinions are relevant!