GreenFriends Australia - Living Consciously Project
2. Develop Water Awareness
“Shouldn’t we express our gratitude to Mother Earth, who patiently provides her lap for us to run, jump and play upon? Shouldn’t we be grateful to the birds who sing for us, the flowers that blossom for us, the trees that provide us with shade and the rivers that flow for us? ” Amma
Water is precious. It is a sacred life- giving element. Without it, we couldn’t survive.
We drink water to quench our thirst; we use water to wash ourselves, our food, our clothes and our homes. We use water to grow our food. We rely on a continuous supply of water that comes to most of us easily by simply turning on a tap, but where does this water come from? The fact that it is as easy as turning on a tap gives us a false sense of security that the supply of healthy drinking water is endless. Water is not an infinite resource and water security, that is, access to clean; potable water will be a priority issue in this century.
At present, almost a billion people across the world do not have access to clean drinking water. In the past 200 years, the world’s population has exploded from one billion people to over seven billion people and it continues to grow exponentially. Simultaneously, our supply of clean, fresh drinking water is diminishing due to contamination and climate change. The cause of these factors can be directly related to the activities of man and woman and now more than ever, it is necessary for us to cooperate as a species and change our behavior to make our planet a better place for our children to inherit. We are the custodians of this planet. It is each and every one of our responsibility to take care of it and live in accordance with nature’s laws.
Australia is one of the driest continents in the world. Many parts of Australia have recently experienced a 10-year drought and record high temperatures. Our river systems and water catchments were at record low levels, which caused state and federal governments to implement drastic action to try and manage water resources. In Victoria, the dam capacity reached below 25% and water saving strategies were implemented to try and conserve water. In 2010, parts of Australia received high levels of rainfall marking an end to the drought. The Victorian reservoir level is now over 50% full, that is slightly over half full and we still need a lot of rainfall before it becomes full. Therefore, while it seems there is an abundance of water everywhere, we still need to practice water saving measures to conserve water.
Here is a list of some water-saving strategies:
- Keep your showers short. 4-minute showers are a good target.
- Swap your shower head for a water-saving showerhead (rebates and free shower head exchange are available in some states).
- Install a water tank. Government rebates are available.
- Divert grey water (water from your washing machine and shower) to your garden.
- Turn the tap off when you are not using water. For example, when you are brushing your teeth.
- Use/install a dual flush system in your toilet.
Finally, we live in cities where many areas that were previously grasslands or forest are covered in asphalt and concrete that are impermeable to water. In new developments or in the redevelopment of existing urban areas, we need to consider laying down surfaces that are permeable to water so that the rain can be absorbed into the earth which is vital to the functioning of under-ground water tables.
Water preservation involves keeping waterways, oceans, bodies of water including lakes and reservoirs in pristine condition. We all want clean water to drink, to swim or wash in and for animal life to thrive in. The reality is however, many of our waterways and oceans are polluted with chemical, bodily and manmade waste.
In our oceans, islands of waste as big as Texas have been formed by ocean currents. Plastic waste gradually breaks down into fingernail sized pieces called nurdles. These nurdles are eaten by sea birds, turtles and other marine life who mistakenly eat them for food and often leads to their death.
There is much waste to be found in the bays and on the beaches in Australia. Neil Blake, the Baykeeper from Port Phillip EcoCentre, Victoria, says that a lot of the rubbish that ends up in the bay is lifestyle related. For instance, an empty water bottle that somebody has thrown on the ground in a suburb not necessarily near the beach, might get washed down a drain after a storm and end up in the bay. Therefore, we all need to be responsible for the rubbish we create and dispose of it sensibly.
Chemicals, hormones, antibiotics and other hazardous waste in our environment also play havoc with our waterways. Being aware of what substances we wash down the drain and flush down the toilet is a good start to trying to change the toxic waste we put into our environment.
It’s important that we try to stop using chemical cleaning products, washing powders and detergents including soaps and shampoos that are detrimental to the environment. Chemical paints and solvents also need to be disposed of properly and not poured down the drain.
As consumers, the power of our dollar can’t be under-estimated. The choices you make when you buy things dictate what products will line the shelves. If you choose natural-based cleaning and hygiene products that are free from harmful chemicals, and choose food that has been produced without the use of toxic chemicals (that eventually ends up in our food and waterways) then there will be more of these products available and manufacturers will have to become more responsible too. It’s a chain reaction. So, simple things that we do to care for the environment do have an impact. If you are having trouble finding products that are environmentally friendly, you can refer on-line to EcoBuy, which has a catalogue and review of many products.
It is also important to become aware of the world crises of overfishing. Globally, some 75% of wild marine fish are now said to be either fully exploited or overfished. Aquaculture, or fish farming, now provides almost half of all the fish consumed by humans. The growth of aquaculture has slowed as stocks of smaller fish used to feed larger fish are themselves overfished. This is having a detrimental effect on the balance of the earth’s water based eco systems, which in turn affects the health of the whole world. To help this situation you can choose to eat less fish, always ask where the fish you eat has come from, and make choices to only purchase and eat fish caught from sustainable methods. If you ask your fishmonger if the fish they are selling comes from sustainable sources and it is not an endangered or over exploited species , this in turn will help educate them and influence them to stock ecofriendly supplies.
Next time you think about water consider this:
“Every person in the world is at least 60% water by weight. We are basically blobs of water with enough organic thickener mixed in to prevent us from dribbling away on the floor. The hydrologic cycle of evaporation, condensation and rain ensures that the water cartwheels around the planet. We are part of the hydrologic process. Every drink we take has water molecules that evaporated from the canopies of every forest in the world, from all of the oceans and plains.
We say we are intelligent, but what intelligent creature, knowing that water is a sacred, life-giving element, would use water as a toxic dump? We are water, and whatever we do to water, we do to ourselves.” -- David Suzuki
One of the most vital things we can do to help conserve and preserve water is to begin to recover our desire to treat water with respect. Once we begin to bring reverence for water back into our consciousness; a personal responsibility towards Water will begin to take place and then we can truly contribute to the future of our earth and humankind.
“We should not exploit nature for serving our immediate ends. We should embrace a broad vision which respects the needs and aspirations of the future generations” Amma
Activities & Updates
|GreenFriends Water Saving Pledge - Click here to download/view PDF >
|Canberra GreenFriends Newsletter Dec - Feb Click here to download/view PDF >
|A Personal Journey with Water - Click here to read more >
|Sat 29th Jan: Water meditation, discussion and swim at Little Wategos on Saturday 29th January at 8.30am. Bring something to sit on, fruit to share and any stories you have since we last met at the Tulasi Day.
|Sydney: 27th December 4pm - Eco meditation and picnic.
Neilson Park. Enquiries 0420 433 061
Contact GreenFriends Coordinators
||Lalana Davidson and Gemma Waddington
||Sri Devi Woodhead
||Greg and Libby Maulder
“Nature is nothing but Gods visible form, which we can see and experience through our senses. Indeed, by loving and serving Mother Nature, we are worshipping God directly”. AMMA Embracing the World
“The earth, plants and animals are all manifestations of God. We should love them as our own self”