Earth Day Ideas April 22 2015

Aloha!

Today is Earth Day and instead of blogging about recipes, teas or spices, this article will be as a tribute to the most influential person in my life – my mom. She was the one who instilled environmentalism into my life as a small kid. She made taking care of the Earth an everyday priority in our family’s life by making it fun and magical. She told me that the water percolating through the soil was the plants saying thank you for the cool drink of water. At 5 years old that was magical and the first step down the road to helping to protect the Earth.

Dr. Seuss also helped me along with his book “The Lorax”. Most, if not all school children have read his book about a boy who finds the Lorax. The Lorax warns this boy about taking from the land without consequence in that his world is dark and bleak. Dr. Seuss’s words of wisdom I took to heart and am happy to say I am a card carrying member of the Tree Hugging, Earth loving, dirt worshipping granolies!

We are all aware that the Earth is in crisis. Everyday we are informed of the impending doom about Climate Change, droughts and ocean acidification. Although there is more than enough to focus our attention and because I am a water scientist (really) I chose to talk about how we as individuals can do our part in conserving our water by reducing our usage on a daily basis. We need to change our habits and lifestyles and do what we can to conserve water for today and into the future.

Let’s think about rivers, streams and wetlands. As National Geographic points our “Rivers are the veins of the planet, pumping fresh water into wetlands, lakes and out to sea”[1]. I believe that the Earth is a living being and to me, this makes sense. Think of the rivers in your community and region. How different would you community be without a river? Could your community grow and prosper without a river.

But rivers play a vital role in how our communities are created. Here in SW Colorado, we are in the midst of a multiple year drought. Even though we are not facing the situation as California, we need to begin planning and developing policies that help to protect our water and aquifer resources. But I am sure your saying to yourself, “I am only one person and how can I conserve when others are not”.

Although you may only be one person, when everyone does their part in conserving that will add up to vast amounts water that can be returned to rivers, wetlands and aquifers. To begin, National Geographic[2] has a handy tool that can measure your “water footprint”. I took the questionnaire and felt that it did not capture all my information; it did give me a general idea of my annual water consumption. By making me aware of the amount, I became more conscience of usage and made me think of ways to reduce that amount. For instance, instead of washing a small load of clothing, I now wait until I have a larger load. I reuse my dish water (wash and rinse) to water my plants. The dogs and cats water also goes for plants. Baths are now out of the question as that takes a huge amount of water. And when the irrigation begins, I will not allow the water to run into the street as I am not growing asphalt.

There are other ways to reduce water usage. If you need to wash your car, do it on the lawn. Replace your shower head with a low flow faucet. This doesn’t reduce the pressure, only the amount of water used. When cleaning the house use a large pail of soapy water for all your cleaning tasks. If you use a mild soap, you can use that water to water your plants for instance.

My gardens will not be as extensive as prior years, and plants that are not drought tolerant will be replaced with others that can go without for longer periods. Sorry Pansies – but your out. I have taken the Nat Geo pledge to reduce my personal usage and do my part to return water to the Colorado River Delta. Please visit http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/freshwater/  to learn more about water issues and please visit changethecourse.us and take the pledge. If each person reading this blog, then the possibilities of saving the Colorado River Delta can become a reality!

Mahalo!

 [1] Fresh Water – Why it Matters, National Geographic, 2015, http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/freshwater/rivers/

[2] Change the Course, National Geographic, 2015, http://changethecourse.us/