Wednesday, July 08th, 2009 | Author:  | 5,392 views - starting Aug 9/09

ecological footprintyou’ve likely heard of the term “ecological footprint” … the concept helps people to quantify and appreciate how lifestyle habits impact the environment … while the calculations are not always accurate (largely because there are innumerable variables that cannot always be factored into the equations and mathematical models), i think it’s very helpful for people to use this resource …

water footprintrecently, the concept of a “water footprint” has been promoted on a similar premise but with a focus on water use … geologists, ecologists, governments, and concerned citizens around the world are becoming increasingly aware of water issues …

unfortunately, the water crisis is not an impending doom … we are living through it … we are living in a global water crisis, even though many communities (especially fortunate ones in countries with natural water sources, aquifiers, and infrastructure) are not affected by it on a daily basis …

nevertheless, in recent years water shortage alerts have been declared across mexico, australia, china, france, italy, spain, and britain, as well as the states of california, nevada, new jersey, and florida — just to name a few … water shortages are not simply events common to underdeveloped countries …

the UN and UNESCO warn that continued water shortages may lead to social and political instability, including civil unrest or, in extreme cases, even war … this is why it is so vital for everyone to moderate their consumption … it will mitigate the severity and duration of periodic water shortages, and temper the escalation of political tension … COOPERATION is key …

water wastage is arguably the single most relevant, as well as the most easily reversed, factor effecting water shortages in areas where physical water sources are not a scarcity … so what is taking people so long to change their habits and lifestyle? …

perhaps people don’t realize how much water they actually use … visit the water footprint network to calculate a rough estimate of your own impact … discuss water use with your family and friends, share the water-saving tips, and direct people to informative websites to increase awareness of how easily water use can be painlessly decreased …

be water wise … we have nothing if we lack water …

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2 Responses

  1. 1
    Steve Johnson 

    Great article! You are a very eloquent yet scientific writer. Awareness is “niiice” in the way that Borat would say it.
    But…

    Now for my crazy rant:

    The “everyone does a little to collectively improve the situation” theory is a fallacy. Why do we tell our children that their small bit will make a big difference when the outcome will be very small? “Because if everyone were to do it it would promote change”… is the story. The problem with this is that not many people will do it and even if they did they would inadvertently leave a large footprint anyways. If i live organically and turn off the tap when i brush my teeth it still does not make a difference when it takes 40,000 litres or more of water to make my car. (quoted from here:) http://bankervision.typepad.com/bankervision/2008/04/a-bank-account.html

    You could argue not to use a car, for example. But the people who make your organic cotton bag drive them because they can now afford to buy one with your free trade cash. We cannot make a difference on a person to person level because most people want cheap stuff that makes them feel good. People don’t care and it is too late.

    Sometimes the ramifications of our green or eco-lifestyles might seem right and make you feel like you are doing something unselfish. But your existence is selfish in itself: we are better off not existing at all in order to leave a footprint that is remotely sustainable. The only way to have change is to completely dismantle the system and get rid of this bureaucratic-government-corporation orgy that has been screwing the common do-gooder since the beginning of industrial man.

    Humans have a cancer that is slowly killing the species. We are all going to die an excruciating death from the environment that has been destroyed by our own hands. This will cleanse the earth so that she can start a new cycle. Let us rejoice in this death and sacrifice ourselves for a future that is more beautiful than our insignificant minds can imagine. A place where the fish and trees and bats can coexist without straining the entire system to collapse. Let us not love ourselves more than we deserve in prolonging the suffering. Slow death is the saddest of all and this is the happiest time for the earth. Let’s not lose sight of something that is much bigger than we will ever be.

  2. 2
    Ken Eustachen 

    I think that it should be called the water handprint since it is our hands that turn on taps and turn them off too. The foot should not be part of this analogy because we “should” be treading lightly with them.

    I have to disagree with the writer above since it is the small steps that count. Rome was not built in a day and neither was Spain. So why the negativity? They are both beautiful cities. I am doing my part by brushing my teeth without water altogether and my kids aren’t using the slip and slide this summer. It all seems like a big waste and it is attitudes like yours that are going to make us die. People are important and we are really smart too. How else could we have made all the great things that we use everyday? I bet that you could not even answer that question. I think that the article brings up some good points and shows how urgent this situation really is. Even the U.N. says that there is a problem with water and it’s going away. I live by example and it shows so that others can understand how i do it.