The Nature Conservancy provided seven tips for helping to keep our lakes and rivers clean, as well as tips for sustainable seafood, in the July issue of Country Living magazine. Thanks to Country Living for asking its readers to donate to support our mission.
The water problems we face are complex and urgent. The only way to create a healthier future is for everyone to do their part. We must use less water and save the sources of our water.
There are actions that each of us can take at home, online, and outside to reduce our own impacts.
5 Simple Things You Can Do at Home
- Run washing machines & dishwashers only when they’re full. Large loads = less water used. And save energy by turning off the auto-dry setting and letting your dishes dry naturally.
- Keeping a timer in your bathroom will help you take a shorter shower. And please turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth. All that perfectly clean tap water is just going down the drain.
- Turn off lights and unplug chargers. Water is used in all forms of energy generation. It can take over 4 gallons of water to keep a 60-watt light bulb lit for 12 hours.
- Use biodegradable cleaning products. The water that goes down your drains will eventually flow into streams and bays.
- Skip meat for one meal a week. It can take about 600 gallons of water to produce a hamburger. (Think of all the grain that’s grown to feed the cattle.)
5 Simple Things You Can Do Online
- Use social media to spread the word about the need to save water and save our water sources. Challenge your friends to match the actions you take.
- Find out where your water comes from and urge others to do the same. Knowledge is power.
- Use social media to ask your favorite brands what they’re doing to reduce their water use and their impacts on water sources.
- Donate to support a community project that helps protect water for people and nature.
- Take our water pop quiz! Don't worry; it's more fun than the SATs. Knowing more about your water source and consumption habits will make you a stronger steward for water conservation.
5 Simple Things You Can Do Outside
- Plant a tree in your yard or a friend’s yard. Trees help keep soil in place – rather than flowing into our streams and lakes – and help slow water down, reducing flooding and enabling more rainwater to trickle down into groundwater supplies.
- Take these steps to reduce your impact when it comes to your own yard and lawn:
- Water your lawn or garden in the morning or the evening when the water will evaporate less rapidly. Adjust sprinklers to avoid the pointless watering of sidewalks or paved areas.
- Sweep patios and sidewalks rather than hosing them, which wastes water and carries contaminants into freshwater systems.
- Limit pesticide use. Pesticides are the only substances we intentionally introduce into our environment to kill living things, and besides being potentially dangerous to people, pets and wildlife, they’ll eventually be carried into our freshwater supply by runoff.
- Make sure your hiking gear is free of plant matter when you head out into nature. Seeds of invasive plant species can hitch a ride on boots. Invasive species can cause many water problems, including absorbing more water than native species and sending erosion and bacteria into rivers and lakes.
- Volunteer for a stream-clean up or wetland restoration event.
- Take someone on a hike near a river or lake – or better yet, get in or on the water – swimming, kayaking, canoeing, etc. People protect things they care about.