Colorful California Landscape: A Water-Friendly Garden
Colorful California Landscape:  A Water-Friendly Garden

Greener Choices

Your Environmental Footprint

We all need to make greener choices in all the areas of our lives, from driving the right car to making your home energy smart, from supporting green causes to making dinner for the family.  In doing so, we will actually spend less, save more, and pay fewer taxes while you are reducing your negative impact on the Earth.  There are simple actions you can take.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a household emissions calculator on their website.  Here you can obtain an estimate of your personal greenhouse gas emissions and explore the impact of taking various actions to reduce your emissions.

Water Warriors

Water Warrior is a person who has committed to tackling the global water and sanitation crisis by going into their community and:

  1. Educating friends, family and neighbors about the magnitude of the problem and proven solutions
  2. Raising funds for simple, proven solutions, such as water filtration systems, soap and toilets
  3. Encouraging elected officials to increase water and sanitation funding
  4. Turning friends and family into Water Warriors to creat a ripple effect

You can commit to being a Water Warrior in your community and the Global Water Challenge will keep you updated on the new and exciting opportunities to take action.

The Water Warriors team is being formed to help ignite a worldwide movement that will make universal access to clean water and sanitation a reality.  The solutions exist and some say that universal access to water could be achieved by 2025. 

Bottled Water

Small changes in your behavior such as not buying coffee in a disposable cup or water in a plastic bottle not only will save you money, but it is better for the planet. In his 2008 book, Go Green, Live Rich, David Bach states, "Every year, Americans drink more than 100 billion cups of coffee. Of these, 14.4 billion are served in disposable paper cups, enough to wrap the Earth 55 times if placed end to end. Plus, those paper cups contain a plastic lining made from a petrochemical that would produce enought energy to heat 8,300 homes for a year."

In a 2007 article, "Message In a Bottle" by Charles Fishman (Fast Company Magazine), he reports that Americans spent $15 billion on bottled water in 2006.  He stated that Americans throw 38 billion water bottles a year into landfills - in excess of $1 billion worth of plastic.  Transporting this water required moving 1 billion bottles of water around per week in ships, trains and trucks across the United States.  Nearly 9 out of 10 plastic water bottles are thrown away.  Ninety-six percent of the bottles sold in 2005 were single-serving sizes, which have a lower recycling rate than nearly any other type of plastic packaging.

"Wasting money and hurting the planet go hand in hand", says David Bach.  And what he finds is truly amazing is that people think that the designer water is healthier than "free" water from the tap.  The reality is that, according to Charles Fishman, 24% of the bottle water we drink is tap water repackaged by Coke and Pepsi.  Pepsi's brand, Aquafina is just purified tap water and it costs nearly 2,500 times more than what comes out of your faucet.  To drink the recommended amount of water (8 to 12 cups a day), you'd spend about $2,500 a year on Aquafina.  The cost for the same amount of tap water is one dollar.  If you are buying actual spring water, like Evian or Fiji, chances are you are spending even more - up to 10,000 times more than tap water.  And it's not necessarily purer water, since federal standards are higher for tap water than for bottled.

In an article in Reader's Digest they stated that bottled water and tap water are regulated by different agencies.  The EPA regulates tap water and the FDA is in charge of overseeing bottled. water.  The EPA has very strict  standards and regulations regarding water contaminants.  Bottlers do not have to inform consumers if their product becomes contaminated.  According to Peter Gleick (Pacific Institue in Oakland, CA) this happened approximately 100 times. Reasons for contamination included mold, benzene, coliform, microbes and crickets.

 

See our Resources page for companies making reusable water bottles and filters.

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Stewardship requires the recognition that we are all caretakers of the environment and economy for the benefit of present and future generations. We must balance the impacts of today's decisions with the needs of future generations. - The Minnesota Round Table on Sustainable Development (1998)