Thursday, August 5, 2010

Water Wise

One in five people worldwide don't have access to clean drinking water. That's more than one billion people, according to the current estimate of folks on the planet (

Meanwhile, developed countries often use clean and treated water like there's no tomorrow. NEWSFLASH! There IS a tomorrow! And billions of people will still be thirsty then, too. I don't mean to stand on a soapbox and shout out accusations, but we are wasting the livelihood of potentially billions of people!

In Ecuador, people don't wash their cars and water their lawns like we do in the US. Many people don't have cars, and most don't have lawns. If they are growing anything in the dirt, it's something to eat, something that is supposed to thrive in that specific region.

I have yet to see a dishwasher that didn't have two hands instead of an electrical cord, and laundry machines here are for the very rich, most people do all the washing by hand and hang to dry.

Living on an island, all the resources are scarce. Conservation is vital to the future of all life. Forget the fact that I'm in the Galapagos Islands, where evolution was first studied and people from all over the world have ventured to carry out research on the flora and fauna; people live here, too. They have lived here for many, many years and they will continue to live here. Therefore, conservation and reduction of waste is a necessary way of life here. But it should be a necessary way of life everywhere else, as well.

The United Nations declared last month that safe, clean, accessible, and affordable drinking water was considered a fundamental human right, although many developed nations, such as the United States, abstained from the vote. This could, after all, hurt industries involved in extracting natural resources overseas.

Living in this enchanting place, I've tried to reduce my demand on the already strained resources by, for instance, being very stingy with my water consumption.

I ask that today, wherever you are living or visiting, you do the same. Cut your shower time in half. Don't wash your car. In fact, park your car and walk or bike or take a mode of public transportation. Don't water the grass on your lawn. If you have a garden, water your plants during the morning, when the water is less likely to evaporate immediately. Count how many times you flush the toilet. Don't use the washing machine, rinse out your clothes in the sink, feel the friction in your hands and the suds on your fingers. Don't play in the sprinkler, instead visit the public pool, lake or local pond to swim in.

It is only by habit that we have grown blind to how much we consume. I ask you to concentrate on water with me today. Water is the lifeblood of the planet, and everything on it. Let's not just flush it down the drain.