By Guy Hollyday
The Earth’s human population is now 7.6 billion and still increasing. (How much is a Billion?) This is resulting in an enormous demand for essentials like food, clothing and shelter and for non-essentials like autos and airplanes, TVs, cell phones and I-pods, beer, ice cream and candy. This demand, in turn, is exhausting materials used to make these things possible, economical, or pleasurable—like coal and gas and metals and wood and fabrics. And our consumption produces ever more harmful amounts of refuse and pollutants on land, in the air, and in our waters.
You and I can do little about population growth, but we can do something about consumption and pollution. Water, for instance. To conserve energy (read coal and gas), we can turn down the temperature setting on our water heaters and install individual water heaters in the kitchen and bathroom. We can wash our hands and dishes with cold water—even in winter. With these chores and with brushing our teeth, we must see just how often and quickly we can turn the faucet off. We must take fewer and shorter showers and baths, put a brick in the water jacket of the toilet. Put up rain barrels and make rain gardens so that we don’t need to run the water outside.There are many other places where we can make a difference, but Water is a good place to start.