A guest post by Stephanie Capps
I am not a water conservationist. I don’t know the latest stats on rivers and watersheds. I can’t tell you much about where my water actually comes from or where it goes. I am just a regular person living a fairly normal life. But, I can say with certainty one thing: WE WASTE WATER.
It is likely that you use 80 gallons of water per day. Seriously, imagine 80 milk jugs in front of you right now. Surely you don’t use that much water. Well, let’s see… Every time you flush a toilet, that is 1.5 gallons of water. Legit down the drain. How many times a day do you use the bathroom? Let’s just estimate that you are using the bathroom 8 times per day. If you flush, there goes 12 gallons. Did you take a shower today? How long did it last? Let’s just say that your shower lasted 10 minutes…there goes another 20 gallons. You are already up to 32 gallons. Whenever we start adding things up like washing dishes, washing clothes, and running the water until it gets hot, you can see how we could easily get up to 80 gallons. Sure, maybe you aren’t up to 80 gallons every single day, but the point is, you are using a lot of water.
Why does it matter? This is a hard question to answer. It can be answered a lot of different ways, but the only one that I will address is this: The earth belongs to everyone. The water that goes down the drain is shared with your actual neighbors and your neighbors that live across the world. If you grew up with well water, rather than city water, this truth is probably more real to you. If you and your neighbor both have a well, you are actually sharing the ground water. Do you know what happens if your neighbor uses all the well water to fill up a pool in their backyard? You don’t have any water to drink. Whenever we take more than we need, we are depriving our neighbors of a basic human right, access to clean water. This happens locally AND globally. My point? So often, we treat water like it is trash…we throw it out. But in reality, water should be treated more like gold.
I want to switch gears really quickly. Have you all ever seen the movie “The Lorax,” based on the Dr. Seuss book? In this movie, there isn’t free air. There is a guy in town that sells it to everyone and makes boocoos of money off of selling air. It seems crazy right? This is such farce. What a silly children’s movie!
This very thing is happening to us right now. Except instead of bottling air, they are bottling, you guessed it, water. Did you know that whenever you buy a bottle of water, you are paying 600 times more than tap water? And do you know what you are getting? THE SAME WATER!!!! There is a chance that your bottled water is filtered, but we have the capabilities to have that very filtered water come out of our tap or fridge. Yet, for some reason, we have been tricked into believing that bottled water is cleaner or better for us. WE HAVE BEEN TRICKED. Not only have we been tricked, the bottled water industry is pumping water from our rivers and charging us an arm and a leg for it. Y’all, this is absurd.
I do not think that bottled water is the devil (all the time). But I do think that most Americans have no use for it. The bottled water industry has successfully gotten clean water to folks that really needed it in disaster situations. This is a great use for bottled water. But there is just no need for us to be paying 600 times the price for something that is basically free in all of our homes.
Get a bottle. Refill it. You can even get one with a filter in it. You could find one that says something cute too. It can be plastic, BPA free, glass or stainless steel. Heck, you could even get one of those backpacks. There is no reason for us to be drinking bottled water.
When I was in college, I heard a story about a social justice advocate taking a vow against bottled water. She researched the industry and decided that based on her beliefs, she couldn’t support that cause. After hearing her story, I did the same. So for the past 10 years, I haven’t bought or drank a bottle of water. I just don’t believe that it is ethical. I am not saying that everyone else should do the same, but I do think that we should be thinking about our job as a consumer. So here are some tips for you:
1. Take a shorter shower.
2. Flush less (if its yellow, let it mellow, if its brown, flush it down).
3. Stop buying cases of bottled water.
4. Choose to refill a bottle for yourself instead.
5. With the money that you save in not buying bottled water, start supporting an organization that builds wells or provides clean drinking water to those who need it.
6. Get a rain barrel and water your outdoor plants with rain water rather than tap water.
7. Only use what you need.
About the Author
Stephanie Capps is a mom-wife-doula-photographer in Raleigh, NC. Some of her favorite things include cold brew coffee, thrift stores, and local beer. Her favorite holiday is one that she made up, called BEARTHDAY; a combination of her birthday (April 21st) and Earth Day (April 22nd).