Saturday, December 20, 2008

Day 242 of our Green Year: Paying Attention To Our Water Footprint

There has been a great deal of talk over the past 242 days of Our Green Year that concerns our carbon footprint. The carbon footprint is very important, but there is another footprint that we all need to be aware of and that is our water footprint.

This realization came to us after listening to a documentary on CBC Radio that mentioned the virtual water footprint. This water footprint concerns how much water we consume through direct and indirect action in our day-to-day lives.

For example, when you buy a steak, you are not only contributing carbon to the atmosphere in the effort to get that steak processed and to your plate, but you are also consuming water indirectly to have that steak because of the water the cow consumed before it was made into that steak.

Paying attention to one's water footprint is very important, especially considering that the available supply of fresh, clean water is getting smaller with each passing day, and many theorists predict that wars of the future will not be fought for oil, but for water.

It is estimated that the average American uses 100 gallons of water per day, compared with 50 gallons of water per day by the French. Also, one flush of the toilet in America uses the same amount of water that someone in the developing world uses for all their cooking, washing, cleaning and drinking in a given day.

The water footprint is very important to Layla and I and it is one reason that we shower for only five minutes, wash clothes by hand and practice the 'If it is yellow, let it mellow. If it is brown, flush it down' rule.

For today, we will begin taking more stock into our water footprint in an effort to lower how much water we use. Next week, we will have several blogs that concern conserving water in our house as a part of this.

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