Posts Tagged ‘February’
Posted on February 20th, 2013 by pauline
This week, Wendy Pabich is asking us to replace one incandescent light bulb with an LED bulb. By doing this, we will save about 42 gallons of water. Read on and take Wendy’s Taking on Water Challenge…
With a carbon footprint comes a water footprint. Every time you turn on the light switch, not only are you consuming energy and adding to your carbon footprint, you are also increasing your water footprint. Electricity production requires tremendous volumes of water to power steam-generated turbines and to cool equipment. In fact, more than half the total water withdrawals in the U.S. each year feed our electrical grid. In some regions of the country, these withdrawals for electricity production are contributing to water stress.
The volume of water required depends upon the energy source. A recent study by The River Network, Burning Our Rivers: The Water Footprint of Electricity, estimates that it requires between zero and 231 gallons of water per megawatt-hour of electricity produced using wind and PV solar technology, and between 14,811 and 440,000 gallons per megawatt-hour for hydropower, coal and nuclear. On average, the water footprint of the electricity we use is about 42 gallons per kilowatt-hour (or 42,000 gallons per megawatt-hour), and the monthly energy use of the average household translates to nearly 40,000 gallons of water—five times the direct water use of that same household.
Conserving energy—turning off lights, insulating your hot water heater, and using Energy Star appliances—then, conserves water. This week’s Taking on Water Challenge is to switch out just one incandescent bulb for an energy-efficient LED or compact fluorescent one, saving about 42 gallons of water per week, or almost 2,200 gallons per year.
For more information see:
Burning Our Rivers: The Water Footprint of Electricity
See introductory information on the Taking on Water Challenge: Reduce your Water Footprint here, the Week 1 Challenge: Eat Less Meat here, and the Week 2 Challenge: Waste Less Food here. To enter to win the Taking on Water Challenge, pledge to decrease your water footprint by leaving a comment on Wendy’s blog.
Posted on February 14th, 2013 by pauline
This week, Wendy Pabich is challenging us to waste less food. Comment on her blog to enter the Taking on Water Challenge!
It takes tremendous volumes of water to produce our food. In fact, in the U.S., agriculture accounts for some 80 percent of our country’s consumptive water use. This means that when we waste food, we waste water. A recent study in the U.K. calculated that embedded water in food waste within the country accounted for one and a half times the volume of water people actually used in their homes.
Estimates of U.S. food waste range from 14 to 50 percent of all food produced for domestic sale and consumption. Much of this food is tossed in the garbage because it is past its sell-by date (which is often mistakenly believed to represent the date food should be eaten by), not as fresh as it once was, or because consumers purchased more food than they could eat and allowed food to spoil.
The implications of our carelessness are rather stunning: these foods end up in landfills, where they produce untold amounts of potent methane, a gas twenty-three times more effective in trapping heat in our atmosphere than carbon dioxide. (Indeed, landfills account for 34 percent of our total methane emissions.) Wasted food also means wasted money, with the average family of four losing $590 each year to food waste. We are also unnecessarily depleting soils and using tons of fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides for foods that are never eaten. It is estimated that fully one-quarter of U.S. water consumption is used to produce this wasted food.
Finally, as estimated in a study by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the energy required to produce this discarded food is on the order of three hundred million barrels of oil a year. As reported in New Scientist magazine, this is (now hold onto your hat!) more than is extracted annually from the oil and gas reserves off our shores.
You can change this by making a shopping list, buying only what you need, using up what’s in the fridge and the pantry (with lots of creative recipes available to use up wilting vegetables), and serving smaller amounts. For food that does go to waste, compost it to return nutrients and energy to the soil rather than sending it to the landfill, where it will decompose to methane and carbon dioxide, further contributing to global change.
By not wasting food this week, you can reduce your water footprint by about 667 gallons. By continuing this practice, you can save nearly 35,000 gallons of water in a year.
Follow these links for more discussion about:
The Implications of Food Waste
The Water Footprint of Food Waste in the U.K.
Ideas for Using Up Foods on the Edge:
9 Foods You Can Bring Back from the Dead
Recipes for Leftovers
See introductory information on the Taking on Water Challenge: Reduce your Water Footprint here and the Week 1 Challenge: Eat Less Meat here. To enter to win the Taking on Water Challenge, pledge to decrease your water footprint by leaving a comment on Wendy’s blog.
Posted on February 6th, 2013 by pauline
As we announced last week, 1% FTP member Wendy Pabich is challenging us to use less water this month. Get involved & win prizes! Here is week one’s challenge…
Estimates vary, but data from the Water Footprint Network suggests that the annual water footprint of the average American consumer is more than 750,000 gallons per year, nearly 60 percent of which is used in the production of our food. America’s startlingly high water footprint is primarily due to high per capita consumption of meat and industrial products.
According to the Water Footprint Network, it requires about 1,799 gallons to produce one pound of beef, 468 gallons per pound of chicken, 576 gallons per pound of pork, and 880 gallons per gallon of milk. Copious volumes of water are needed to grow feed for animals, and then additional water is used to care for animals, process meat, and distribute and sell animal products. By contrast, raising fruit, vegetables, and grains requires a fraction of the water. Carrots require only 6.5 gallons of water per pound; apples, nearly 100 gallons per pound; peas, 10.2 gallons per pound; blueberries, 13.8 gallons per cup; and potatoes, 119 gallons per pound.
By avoiding red meat for two days this week, you can reduce your water footprint by about 953 gallons. By continuing this practice, you can save nearly 50,000 gallons of water in a year.
Follow these links for more discussion about:
The Average American Diet and Its Water Footprint
The Environmental Implications of Meat Production
How We Use Water for Food
See introductory information on the Taking on Water Challenge: Reduce your Water Footprint here. To enter to win the Taking on Water Challenge, pledge to decrease your water footprint by leaving a comment on Wendy’s blog.
Full official contest rules and guidelines are here. Contest begins January 29, 2013. Entries must be received no later than March 11, 2013, 11:59:59 PM Pacific Time.
• Enter for the chance to win a copy of Taking on Water and a water reduction kit for your home (Approximate Retail Value $130).
• No purchase necessary.
• Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia, ages 18 or older.
• Contest begins January 29, 2013. Entries must be received no later than March 11, 2013, 11:59:59 PM Pacific Time.
• The winner will be selected on or about March 15, 2013.
• Void where prohibited by law.
Entries must be made in the comments section on Wendy Pabich’s blog, www.waterdeva.com. Entries must include the following (Incomplete entries will not be considered):
▪ Name (first and last)
▪ Email Address
▪ A brief comment pledging to decrease your water footprint
Optional: A link to a blog post or photograph can be included, but is not necessary for entry.
Posted on February 1st, 2013 by pauline
1% for the Planet member Wendy Pabich, is challenging us to lower our water consumption this month and beyond. Read on to learn more about her new book, Taking on Water, and to find out what you can do to lower your usage!
Water is the new oil, right? Not only do we each directly consume water every day for drinking, cooking, bathing, cleaning and tending our lawns, we also use water indirectly, as water “embedded” in the products and services we buy. Thus, in the same way we each have a carbon footprint we also have a water footprint. A water footprint is the total volume of freshwater used directly and indirectly to produce the goods and services consumed by an individual, community, company or nation. This includes the amount of “green water”, or rainwater consumed in the production process and to grow crops, “blue water”, or surface and groundwater consumed, and “greywater”, the amount of freshwater polluted as a result of the process.
To put this in perspective, a cup of coffee requires about 37 gallons of water to produce; it takes 6.5 gallons to grow a pound of carrots and 108 gallons to grow a pound of corn; 1,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef, 2,200 gallons for a pair of blue jeans, 25 gallons for a kilowatt-hour of electricity. The average person in the United States consumes more than 750,000 gallons of water each year via the products and services they purchase—representing the highest per capita water footprint in the world. By contrast, nations like Guatemala, Kenya, and Afghanistan have water footprints less than 200,000 gallons per person per year.
During the month of February, the Taking on Water Challenge will issue a new charge each Tuesday to help you reduce your water footprint. Challenges will be straight-forward and relatively easy to achieve. Along with each task, you’ll learn why your choice is important, and how much water you can save if you undertake the pledge for a week—or better yet, make it permanent. By the end of the month, your combined actions could save more than 1,500 gallons per week. If you stick with these changes, you can save over 6,000 gallons each month or nearly 80,000 gallons of water in a year’s time. Along the way, we’ll provide you with additional resources and water saving ideas you can bring to your life. We hope that once you figure out how easy it can be to be water wise, you’ll put what you learn to good use. At the end of the month, we’ll draw a winner for a Taking on Water prize!
For more background on our water footprints, start here with my Water Deva Cheat Sheet and 12 Ways to Reduce Your Water Footprint. And, please help us spread the word through your social media networks. Every drop counts!
To enter to win the Taking on Water Challenge, pledge to decrease your water footprint by leaving a comment on Wendy’s blog.