I learned to appreciate water once I went out of the city. Then again, when I moved to another country. Again, when I left once more. And again … and once more. Somehow, leaving a place provided me with a lens to see what I hadn’t been seeing before, to acknowledge what had just been there, to turn what you took for granted into something you see, sense, observe, look forward to, miss, and fully appreciate.
Why is it that you start to notice things once they are no longer there?
1 WATER IS INVISIBLE
Water is in where you might not necessarily suspect it. The visible water we consume each day is used for cooking, showering, drinking, cleaning, and washing – it adds up to about 137 l each day. Yet, the rest of the water we consume is invisible. What we consume contains water – it’s in your books, your phone, your laptop, your coffee, your shampoo, your food, your jeans. Consider a pair of jeans – to make one single pair of jeans, up to 8000 l of water is needed. That’s a lot. In fact, that’s 3496 l of water per day. 92 % of the water we consume is invisible. What can you do to save water?
If you buy new clothes, buy them second-hand or swap clothes with friends or colleagues – often we give clothes away because we’ve seen it too often, even if they’re still in a good condition. Why not pass them on?
Also, if you live in a place that doesn’t grow avocado, don’t eat it – or reduce your avocado consumption. Chile made the headline of struggling with water scarcity due to a rising demand of avocados in Europe and the United States. Let’s think about the planet and those we share it with, when we think about what we want for breakfast – #Avoontoast might not be as green as it seems.
2 WATER IS PRECIOUS
Water is not always as available as it might be. I grew up in Germany – water was there as soon as I needed it, and even if I didn’t need it, water was something never to worry about. Everything is always working and to imagine that the house could be left without water suddenly is one that doesn’t come up, since it never occurs.
Now I live outside Germany, and it happens every now and then, we don’t have water for a few hours or a day. Is it annoying? Sometimes. It’s one of those things you can’t really say: there are more important things in life. Water is one of the most important resources. But when it happens, I appreciate it and take it as a reminder. It reminds me that we are not independent of nature, that we are part of it and we don’t own it. Water goes a long way before I take a shower. We don’t have a right to own it, but we have a responsibility to acknowledge and take care of it.
3 TAB WATER IS CONVENIENCE
Can you drink water from the tab? You’re a lucky one.
There is one moment I’ll never forget – I was standing in the kitchen of the office I had been working at, filled my glass with water from the tab, and was asked: Why are you drinking tab water, if there is a whole lot of bottles out there you could take the water from? I simply replied: I love drinking tab water, I can’t do it everywhere and it makes me happy when I can. I think I barely ever earned a weirder look – as if I had gone completely crazy.
Tab water in Germany is safe to drink, and apart from that, delicious to drink. We’re spoiled! When I was living in Scotland, I noticed the taste of chlorine in the water, it was still drinkable, only that I had to get used to the taste first, and many people used a water filter or simply bought bottled water. Tab water is very different, depending on the place you’re at. The water in the city I am living in right now is very calcareous, so it’s not healthy option and I get drinking water in (reusable) containers of about 20l. Do I find it annoying? No. I realized, I grew up in a place of the world that had an incredibly high standard for drinking water, which is not the norm, it is convenience. Whenever I am in Germany, I remember it each time I turn on the tab to fill up my glass. When I am not, I enjoy going for a walk to get water at the corner store, it makes me appreciate every cup of tea I brew. Also, I get a good feeling of how much water I am using – something I didn’t notice before since I just turned on the tab and water was there.
Are there ways to save water? Yes, many. You can save water every single day. Turn off the tab when you brush your teeth, take a quick shower, don’t waste drinking water, take tab water if you can to avoid plastic bottles, buy fewer new products since a lot of water has been used to produce them, and finally, the classic, eat less meat. To produce one kilo of meat, 15400 liters of water are needed. Take little steps – you don’t have to change completely from today to tomorrow. As a singer-songwriter I can assure – in some cases it doesn’t matter to have a perfect song, all that matters is that you keep singing. This is one of those cases.
xx Ariane Vera