I went to an event last night on the Geopolitics on Water and Climate Change. It was fascinating, but I left feeling quite frustrated. The argument about the importance and increasing rarity of fresh groundwater was very compelling. But after half an hour of growing fear about the future my daughters and their future children will face, there was no action suggested. There were no ideas for things I could do, or habits I could instill in my daughters, or proposed changes for which I might advocate.
So I went home worried and continued to worry all night.
Well, that’s not quite true. Around midnight when I still couldn’t sleep, I surfed the internet for ways that an individual can help conserve water, like:
- Harvesting rain water and keeping your gray water to water your plants
- Checking your water lines, faucets, toilet and meter for leaks
- Installing water-saving shower heads and faucet aerators, as well as using creating or buying a toilet tank bank (I just use a couple bricks); take shorter showers, turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth, running your dishwasher and washing machine only when full
- Replacing water-needy plants with drought tolerant plants
- Growing your own food, knowing and choosing food with water in mind (that is food that doesn’t require excessive irrigation or watering to grow), reducing food waste (by buying and/or eating less food so you don’t end up throwing away food — according to our speaker last night a LOT of our fresh groundwater goes to industrial-sized crops, and nearly 50% of our food in the USA is thrown away instead of eaten)
- And a 100 other ideas…
But knowing is only half the battle. Now I need to implement these ideas–to DO something.
Which brings me to my real point (not that water conservation isn’t important; it is both important and urgent)—if we continue to hear about important and urgent matters that don’t contain action items, how many of us are likely to even KNOW what to do? Which means we’re even more likely to NOT do anything about it. Which means change isn’t likely. However, if you share a problem, take the additional step to help people know what they can do to help.
So what action items do I want you to know from this post?
- If you are creating content, tell people how they can help.
- Provide a range of actions (for instance, some may find putting a brick in their toilet to reduce water flow to be all they can manage, while others may go out and order that rain barrel and calculate their food-water consumption then change their shopping habits starting today).
- Create a way for people to join the conversation (not comments, because those aren’t a conversation) to find solutions if solutions aren’t readily available.
- Go DO some of the suggestions yourself! (Karma doesn’t hurt to get the ball rolling.)
Think about the possibilities if every time there was a story on climate change you had options you could adopt. Or if every time there was a story about terrorism you also read about easy ways you could help make the world safer and more peaceful. Or when they announce the time on the Doomsday Clock today, you knew what you could (and should) do to help turn the clock backwards.