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Water conservation can be a controversial topic (nobody likes washing their hair under low water pressure), but ultimately it may be one of the most important topics of our time. The world’s population is expected to surpass 9 billion people within the next 50 years which means we will need the water, food, and energy to support a growing humankind without destroying the rest of our planet. Earlier this week I wrote about common misconceptions surrounding the water conservation movement. Now we’ll tackle the practical application of it all.

1). Choose your food carefully. It’s funny how so many things in life tie together. Saving water, saving energy and improving your health are all dramatically impacted by the food you choose to eat. Did you know that 70% of all freshwater usage is assigned to producing the food we need? A large portion of this goes to supporting the meat and dairy industries. According to National Geographic, “Beef produced in concentrated feeding operations typically requires nearly 8 times the water and 160 times the land per calorie as vegetable and grain.” It takes almost 2,000 gallons of water to produce on gallon of milk. Make a conscious effort to reduce your intake of animal products and both your body and the earth will thank you for it.

2). Turn off the faucet. This seems like common sense, but its easy for all of us to build bad habits. As you go about your normal day take notice of the ways you may be running water unnecessarily. Simple changes like reducing your shower time, turning off the water while you brush your teeth, and measuring water for tea or cooking in advance will save several gallons of water per person every day. On average every person uses approximately 100 gallons of water per day. If we could all make simple changes to reduce our water use by 25% it would make a huge impact on the future of our most precious resource.

3). Spend wisely. Money is power. Every time you make purchases you are giving power to the company you support. For example, did you know it takes 1,800 gallons of water to produce just one pair of average blue jeans and over 650 gallons to make a cotton t-shirt? Seek to support companies who are striving to save both energy and water in their production process and use your dollars to vote for a healthier future.

Water is essential and purifying water for everyday use consumes an incredible amount of energy. When you choose to reduce your water footprint you are helping to preserve life on this planet. You’re also saving money, which doesn’t hurt. So, start taking note of the way you live. Turn off your faucet, don’t run your dishwasher or washing machine until the load is completely full, and pay attention to the companies you support with your hard earned cash. By reducing our water footprint, we can share this valuable resource with generations to come.

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