Last time, we wrote about water and its meanings in general. Water is one of our basic needs, we live on a blue planet, yet the freshwater resources are running low. What can we as individual human beings do?
There are many articles that advice us as consumers to save water by simple steps like:
- take shorter showers
- wash clothes less often
- use the dishwasher instead of washing your dishes per hand
- not to leave the water running when brushing teeth, between using shampoo in the shower, or shaving
These types of tips are welcome and useful. Why should we use more water than necessary? However, this might not be the whole picture. We need to dig a bit deeper to find out why the freshwater resources are running so low.
In our last article, we wrote that only 1% of the globe’s water resources is freshwater. 70% of this freshwater is used for agriculture to grow crops such as cotton and different types of grain. Water resources are also divided very uneven. The consumption of freshwater often very heavy in regions where water is extremely scarce, and where local people lack drinking and household water.
Here is an example that helps us to see the big picture.
2700l water is:
- one cotton t-shirt
- one hamburger made with red meat
- around two months of showers for one person
- one person's drinking water (2l per day) for three years
If we look at the freshwater issue from this perspective, we notice it is a complex global problem caused by industries. At the same time, the major hidden water, we consume, is shrouded in the clothes we wear and the food we eat.
If we as individuals want to reduce our water footprint, we need to choose items that are less water intensive. If we demand more sustainable commodities, it leads inevitably to more sustainable industries in the long-term. Unsustainable industries cannot survive without consumer demand.
Here are 6 simple ways how to make better choices on a daily basis:
- Most importantly: buy less in general and choose better quality
- Use an item longer: if we extend the life cycle of a garment by 9 months, the water footprint reduced by 5-10%
- Consider the material choices
- Choose eco & fair labels - demand for sustainability
- Consider your food choices - some foods are very water intensive
- Don’t forget the old simply rules: don’t leave water running, short showers, and wash clothes only when they are sweaty and dirty
We hope you enjoyed our little series of water. Let us know in the comments or on social media what you think.
Ama & Essi
Photos by Julius Töyrylä