For more than 50 years, Earth Day has inspired people to take action to protect our environment. Since its establishment in 1970, Earth Day helped create the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and aided in the passage of several laws to protect our air and water. After reaching a global audience in the early 1990’s, Earth Day is now one of the largest secular observances in the world with over a billion people participating each year.
One of the many ways people observe Earth Day is through the conservation and cleanup of freshwater sources around the world. While around 70 percent of the world is covered in water, only 3 percent of that water is freshwater (and over two-thirds of that freshwater is frozen).
According to the World Wildlife Foundation, more than 1.1 billion people don’t have access to clean and reliable drinking water. Whether availability of freshwater is affected by climate change, pollution or a higher demand, there are some simple things every person can do to help conserve and protect water:
- Turn off the water when you brush your teeth, wash your hands, or do the dishes.
- Wait to run the dishwasher or washing machine until you have a full load.
- Plan your garden with native plants that will need little-to-no extra watering or use rain barrels to capture rainwater for your gardening needs.
- Use a broom to clean off patios, sidewalks and driveways instead of the hose.
- Install low-flow toilets or shower heads (this can save you money too!).
In your community, you can advocate for green infrastructure. Green infrastructure is when you use natural resources to help filter water and prevent flooding or erosion. This kind of infrastructure can be used on its own or combined with traditional water infrastructure to improve efficiency. Green infrastructure will not only help to conserve water, but it can also beautify your community in the process.
By making different daily choices to protect the environment, we can make Earth day every day. CSWR works to help build lasting protection for water and wastewater so that our communities are as clean and healthy as possible for generations to come.