I can hear the sound of environmentalists shrieking ("Just drink tap!"), health proponents clapping ("Finally, people are choosing water over sugary drinks!"), and giant water companies quietly panicking ("Oh, crap! Where are we going to get enough clean water?")...
Let's for a minute put our heads (and hearts) together on this: First of all, it's truly wonderful that Americans are drinking water rather than soda. This is a Big Win. And second, who among us hasn't been grateful for cold water from the refrigerated beverage section after our water bottle from home has been emptied, its ice long since melted? Third, I think we can all say we want whatever water we drink to be clean, pure, and toxin free.
Now let's take another moment and be grateful that we have that choice at all. There are still many places in the world where clean drinkable water is not available at all--in any kind of container or from any sort of tap.
Here are 5 things we can all do right now to make sure we ALL have clean water--from our taps, in our bottles, and of course, in our rivers, lakes, and oceans:
1. Use organic farming and land management (no toxins). Removing synthetic chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides from our farms stops their being leached into our wells, streams, and rivers and causing dead zones in our bays and oceans. Buy organic food and manage your land organically. It's easy!
2. Use natural remedies. Think twice before you accept a prescription you don't really need (like an antibiotic for a virus like a cold or the flu). And NEVER flush prescription medicines down the toilet. (Although, many pharmaceuticals go through your body, anyway, so yes, you are flushing some of them down the toilet even if you don't empty your prescription bottle into the bowl.) Of course, get medicines when you need them, but opt for natural remedies whenever possible. (For more information on how to safely dispose of old medication, click here.)
3. Use renewable energy (no fracking). Fracking causes a lot of problems, including polluting wells and waterways. But so do a lot of other fossil fuels. (Think oil spills or the fact that, according to WIRED magazine, "a single barrel of oil produces ten barrels of waste water.") Try alternative renewable energy--like solar, wind, and geothermal--whenever possible, and support its growth and expansion.
4. Use careful consumption and manufacturing (glass, not plastic!). When in doubt, buy your drinks in glass, not plastic. And buy your products from companies and people that care about how things are made. Yes, that requires rewiring your brain to think source, not price. But if we all do it, prices will become reasonable for everyone. After all, it's all connected! The water is circulating in, out, and through all of us!
If we do all five of these things, our oceans will be cleaner and healthier. Our country will be cleaner and healthier. And then we can spend our time helping countries that need them build wells. We can set an example--be the type of leaders that people want to follow. Together, we can set in motion steps that can bring clean water to everyone.
For more from Maria Rodale, visit www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com