Monday, July 27, 2015

Laudato Si and Water


30. Even as the quality of available water is constantly diminishing, in some places there is a growing tendency, despite its scarcity, to privatize this resource, turning it into a commodity subject to the laws of the market. Yet access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right, since it is essential to human survival and, as such, is a condition for the exercise of other human rights. Our world has a grave social debt towards the poor who lack access to drinking water, because they are denied the right to a life consistent with their inalienable dignity. This debt can be paid partly by an increase in funding to provide clean water and sanitary services among the poor. But water continues to be wasted, not only in the developed world but also in developing countries which possess it in abundance. This shows that the problem of water is partly an educational and cultural issue, since there is little awareness of the seriousness of such behaviour within a context of great inequality.~Laudato Si (emphasis Pope Francis)

My grandmother used to live in the country.  Her source for water was well.  One year she was repeatedly getting severely sick.  Her doctor, concerned, recommended that she have her water tested.  Turns out her water sits under a cow pasture.  It was being polluted by cows.

 Living in the desert too, makes one appreciate having water.  It's regularly pushed here to use native plants who require less water.  So here are some tips to help with water conservation:

1) Skip commercially bottled water- Nestle got in hot water for bottling taking away from water in the area.  And I believe this is what Pope Francis means when he says water is regularly being privatized.  Use a reusable water bottle.  If you don't like the tap (which is what Nestle and many other companies use anyway), just filter it.
2) Cut your shower/bath usage- This may mean skipping baths/showers here and there, which is actually good for your skin.  This may mean taking a short shower.
3) Turn off the tap- Scrubbing a dish? Turn off the tap.  Brushing your teeth? Turn off the tap.  Only turn on the water when you actually need it.
4) Use a dishwasher- Dishwashers actually use less water to clean dishes than traditional hand washing does.
5)Water your plants with gray water/water barrel- Need to scrub something that can't go into the dishwasher? Never fear. You can use the water to water your plants.  Some people also collect rain water in large barrels for the same purpose.  You can use your bathwater for the same thing.  I've "flushed" a toilet using bathwater before.
6)Watch what you pour down the drain- Paragraph 29 actually lists several things that regularly get into the water supply and pollute the water:  " certain mining, farming and industrial activities.....It is not only a question of industrial waste. Detergents and chemical products, commonly used in many places of the world, continue to pour into our rivers, lakes and seas." It may be smart to use natural cleaning products rather than commercial cleansers.

Hope that helps.  Do you have any tips for conserving water usage and reducing water pollution?  Put 'em in the comments below.

For more information:
Household natural cleaners
more cleaner ideas

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