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​Change of Lifestyle: A Solution to Environmental Problems

Environment   Oct 6, 2016 by Beatrice Martha M. Geraldez

As living beings, we have various needs such as food, shelter, air and most especially water in order to survive. In relation to this, consider this analogy. The battery represents water while the wall clock represents our body. The wall clock will not function without the battery and this idea also applies to our body. Our body cannot undergo different processes and perform its daily functions without water or the lack of it in our body. Along with this, water is indeed an essential element to health for it prevents a person from experiencing dehydration. It serves as a lubricant in the process of digestion and allows nutrients to be transported to the different parts of the body which is in need of these nutrients. Another, water regulates body temperature through perspiration and also, helps in removing toxins from the body. On the other hand, water is used for different purposes, may it be indoor or outdoor. It is used for drinking, washing the dishes, cooking our food, cleaning, brushing our teeth, taking a bath, watering plants and many more. With all these uses, why is water still wasted?

Almost 70% of the Earth is covered in water. It is found in oceans, lakes, rivers, groundwater, glaciers, swamps, marshes etc. We might think that the water we have is adequate for our population however, that is not the case. People, intentionally or not, have wasted water. We repeatedly do this because of our consumption of various products and excessive use of this resource. This causes water scarcity which is experienced by a total of 2.7 billion people in at least one month every year. On the other hand, people are not aware of the ways they consume water, most especially in the production of food. According to a research conducted by the Water Footprint Network, “16 thousand liters of water is used for the production of one kilogram of beef”. Another, 140 liters of water is needed to produce one cup of coffee. With this, we can deduce that water is certainly needed in the production of the products and food we consume every day.In order to gain knowledge on our water consumption, it is helpful to use the water footprint calculator. According to the Water Footprint Network, “water footprint is a measure of humanity’s appropriation of fresh water in volumes of water consumed and/or polluted.” Through this, people can determine their water consumption per day, week, month or even in a year. The global water consumption can also be estimated using the water footprint calculator. In relation to this, last October 3, 2016, the Advanced Environmental Education class of Grade 11 in St. Theresa’s College Q.C, conducted the water footprint activity. The resulting values were varied however most of it were below or about average for the people in the US specifically, it was higher than 1500 gallons/day. Furthermore, regarding the water usage of the students in cubic meters, the values were again varied. Most of the class had a monthly water usage that is less than 30 cubic meters. Meanwhile, 8 students had a monthly water usage of between 43 to 56 cubic meters. Also, 2 students from our class had 80 and 98 cubic meters as their monthly water usage, respectively. In relation to this, my water footprint is 2,079 gallons/day and our family’s monthly water usage is 28 cubic meters. Generally, the water usage of the Advanced Environmental Education class of SY 2016-2017 was about average however there were some who had significantly higher values. With this, it can be inferred that the water usage depends on the number of people in the household and also, the cost for one cubic meter of water. Moreover, the activities, equipment used by the household and lifestyle affect by a great extent their water usage. For example, having a rainwater collector would decrease the water usage because the water collected can be used for the plants or to clean different materials. Another, doing the laundry everyday would increase the water usage because only few clothes would be cleaned and the water left on the washing machine would be drained hence is wasted.

In our lifestyle, there is more to change in order to lessen the water consumption. We can do this by decreasing the carbon footprint in our diet through eating local, organic and less meat. Also, we must check pipes and toilets for leaks. Choose and use appliances wisely by considering its maximum capacity. Avoid to leave the water flowing whenever you wash the dishes, clean vegetables or brush your teeth. In addition, try to take shorter showers. Never throw water rather find other ways to reuse the water; may it be to water the plants, flush the toilet etc. As a family, an improvised rainwater collector can be placed outside their house in order to reuse the water collected from the rain. With these steps, it is attainable to lessen a person’s water consumption. Water would be maximized and wisely used by everyone. A conscious effort to monitor one’s activities and appliances must be done to have a change of lifestyle. Moreover, awareness of our actions would greatly help in achieving the goal to lessen our water consumption. Through this, more people would have access to water, a basic need for survival. Water is conserved because of the appropriate and enough use of it.

On the other hand, climate change is an issue equally essential as that of water. According to the Department of Ecology State of Washington, climate change “includes patterns of temperature, precipitation (rain or snow), humidity, wind and seasons.” It affects the cycles in the community by either maintaining its balance or having an excess of a specific source. Moreover, this actually results to extreme weather conditions, rise of the sea level due to melting of polar ice caps, species extinction and lack of resources specifically food. Climate change as well as the problem on water resources must be addressed by countries all over the world. In the climate change activity, choosing the policies was a difficult task for it requires me to think and examine thoroughly in order to determine the best option. The activity was very meaningful and informative because I discovered the effects of certain policies to the level of carbon emission that the country had. In relation to this, it is necessary for the government of any country to conduct extensive research and analysis regarding the projects they propose in order to respond to the existing environmental issues. Through this, the projects would yield positive, effective and consistent results. Similar to the problem on water, a change of lifestyle is a great help to address climate change. We can do this by buying less and being more efficient. Try to do more using only less energy or resources. Another, we must maximize the use of every product we acquire by thinking of ways to reuse or recycle them. Always unplug appliances whenever it is not in use. The actions mentioned are only some of what we can do. Furthermore, with these done by all citizens, a significant positive change would be observed in the current state of the environment. In a nutshell, a change of lifestyle can chiefly solve the environmental problems we face today.

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1 Comment(s)

Wonderful post Beatrice. I can not commend you enough for critically thinking about the activity you did. Your analogy in the beginning is just wonderful, I will probably use it again myself! It really puts things into perspective when you think about the essential nature of water to life. When you described water flowing through our bodies to deliver nutrients, it reminded me of the same way in which plants need water to flow through their xylem to deliver nutrients, just like humans do. So not only do we need water to sustain life, but plants and animals do too. And with that comes our food sources, which is where the copious amounts of water needed for our food tie in. But it is not just water to sustain the plants and animals we eat, modern food production uses copious amounts of water in the packaging and preserving process. And modern fertilizer, pesticide, and herbicide production to produce such quantities of food use copious amounts of water as well. And the feed for the animals comes majority from corn-based product. WATER IS INVOLVED IN EVERY STEP OF THE PROCESS!

I really like your idea of maximizing the usefulness of all products rather than throwing away and wasting. Here is an interesting article that I think you will LOVE... it follows a story about how Sweden is giving tax breaks for fixing, rather than throwing away, broken items.

I am very grateful for your positive and encouraging remark for this entry of mine. In doing this entry, I had a lot of realizations; one of which is my shortcomings with regards to helping the environment. I would often throw things whenever I can’t think of another use for it. This entry inspired me to be more conscious of my actions and aim to have a greener life. It also served as a reminder to start the change with myself and eventually, spread my knowledge to other people in the community. Moreover, I agree with you that water is vital for all the processes which sustain life and the Earth itself. With this, we must transform our lifestyle and take concrete steps to conserve this resource.

In addition, the article you sent about Sweden greatly proves the government’s contribution in taking action to save the environment. Many policies, projects and programs can be proposed to address different environmental issues. The tax break in repairing products would be very helpful for the citizens of Sweden. Because of this, more people would want to repair their products and maximize the use of it. Furthermore, this serves as a model for other countries to do the same and recognize solving environmental issues as a priority. Some of the actions that the government can implement are to lessen the use of plastics, harmful substances in different products available in the market, the application of more green technologies etc. These would certainly help improve the current condition of the environment and consequently, increase the quality of life for the people. 

I am excited to hear from you. Thank you once again. :) 

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