Came Through Drippin'
Is the title relatable? Do we still like Cardi B? Ever since she dipped her toes into politics, we are on board. Also, her music slaps.
We all need water, minus the North American Kangaroo Rat. From drinking water causing high blood lead levels in children, to wildfires devastating communities, water is the most ubiquitous, precious, and sometimes obscure commodity of our lifetime. Currently, groundwater is being used at an unsustainable rate which is causing the depletion of reserves and creating real-life problems. If you are privileged enough to have easy access to clean water, you need to think about your water usage. Millions of people around the world don’t have access to clean water, so check your privilege at the door, and be conscious about how much you’re using, and wasting!
Some people think that water use can be summarized by the number of minutes in a shower or loads of laundry washed. Real water consumption is hidden in what you wear; to the energy you use. Let’s dive in. (See what we did there? Dive, like in water?)
The World Bank estimates 70% of usable water is used for agriculture. The meat and dairy industries provide an estimated 20% of calories consumed but take up over 80% of farmland. More than half of all agricultural greenhouse gas emissions are produced by animals and it takes 460 gallons to produce 1/4 pound of beef. Yikes.
What you can do:
Eat less meat and dairy. You don’t have to go full blown vegan, but start with eating meat-free one day a week. Then, bump it up depending on how you feel. The title of this article speaks volumes: Avoiding meat and dairy is ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your impact on Earth.
Eat local. Go to your local farmers’ market and ask your local farmers about how they grow their produce. Get educated by the people who feed you, and reduce the miles from the farm to your mouth. Bonus point: You’ll be eating in season, something we hear about, but probably don’t do because, ahem, we don’t know what’s actually in season.
Grow your own food. A little basil on your windowsill can go a long way. You can water it with old pasta water. That has zero transport costs. The easiest plants to grow are parsley, basil, cilantro, and mint. Millennials love plants, right? Also, your food photos look a hell of a lot better with a sprinkle of parsley on top. This is a serious power move to step up your Instagram game. Take it a step further and regrow vegetables from your food scraps. It’s a great windowsill project to add a bit of life to dreary winter, or to cut the cost of buying seedlings.
Electricity needs water. From steam-driven turbine generators to cooling power-producing equipment, production of electrical power results in one of the largest uses of water in the United States and worldwide. That’s hundreds of thousands of gallons of water every minute to produce that sweet, sweet electrical juice.
What you can do:
Turn things off when you’re not using them and unplug them from outlets. A.k.a. don’t leave your computer charging for a whole weekend, something we’ve all probably been guilty of.
Moderate your temperature versus your environment. What’s the logic in regulating your body temperature compared to altering the heat around you? You will cool down quicker/get warmer by shedding a layer of clothing, or by layering up with woolen sweaters and socks. You’ll also save on your energy bills. Woolen undershirts are inconspicuous as they regulate your core temperature. They are a great investment that, if cared for properly, will last for many years.
Hang your shirt up in the bathroom while you shower … versus wastefully running the shower to get enough steam to de-wrinkle your shirt.
Set up a power strip so you can turn off everything at once. It’s your charging station so you never have to hunt down a cord again.
Air-dry your laundry. Using a drying rack instead of a machine will also increase the lifespan of your clothes. Plus by ditching the dryer sheets, you keep your dryer living longer, too. Remember, it’s more energy-efficient to do full loads of laundry, too.
Swap your lights for LED bulbs. They last about 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.
If you’re fancy, or live with your parents, get dimmer switches installed. Ambiance and energy savings.
A single cotton shirt takes 650 gallons of water to make. Now think of those brands that make clothes, which disintegrate after two washes (cough cough, Forever 21). It’s not worth it.
What you can do:
Shop second-hand. It’s the easier than ever with IRL shops and sites like Depop and apps like Poshmark and Mercari.
Borrow from your friends. It’s free! Just remember to give it back, washed, if you tend to get stanky pits.
Organize a clothing swap with your friends. Add some wine, and make a fun Friday night of it.
With minimalism and Marie Kondō trending, try only owning clothing that you actively care about and shopping consciously. Do not donate your clothes to those random metal donation places you see around, many sell the clothes for high prices in poorer countries, exploiting those who can least afford it.
Now the tangible part of limiting household water use:
Smart showers. Turn off the water while you lather your body and shampoo your hair.
Shorter showers because, duh, and also long hot showers can strip your skin of moisture
Shower together (unless your partner doesn’t understand how to share the hot water)
Don’t shower every day. Queer Eyes’s JVN advises not to wash your hair everyday, you strip your hair of its natural oils and cause it to become greasier, quicker. You’ll save on shampoo and conditioner (try Lush’s waste free shampoo bars)!
Use extra water from cooking things like pasta for watering plants. Hot Tip: Wait for the water to cool completely
Don’t flush your pee. Classic if it’s yellow…. Let it mellow. You know the rest.
Wait until your dish washing machine is full to run it. Fun Fact: Dish washing machines use less water than hand washing.
Lawns are so 90s. Grow an edible garden or plant drought resistant plants. Some counties will help you pay for this lawn makeover like LA’s Cash for Grass. Use all that room for a backyard garden, a pond, a patio, a compost pile, or plant it full of native flowers so all the birds and bees flock to your space.
Written by Jewels O’Brien and Margaret Cyr