Today is Blog Action Day, and the topic this year is water. I have to admit, as a designer, I had to figure out exactly what to write about that would be directly related to the global crisis surrounding the lack of clean drinking water for millions around the world. I’m aware of many effective organizations who are drilling for wells, promoting awareness, and researching new methods of improving water supplies. Water Is Basic is one of these organizations. They’re working to drill wells in places like Sudan and are making a difference in people’s daily lives. But awareness of these organizations still didn’t help me with what to write.
This was all on Wednesday, and Wednesdays are my longest days of classes at the University of North Texas. I arrive at 7:30 in the morning and my last class ends at 9 p.m. All that time on campus without a break means I get pretty thirsty.
While on campus, I have started bringing a water bottle with me to fill up instead of buying bottled water. It saves plastic, means I’m always supplied, and is a heckuva lot cheaper. But what makes carrying my bottle around work is that at UNT, almost every water fountain has a spigot that serves up filtered water. Until a few weeks ago, I hadn’t noticed these spigots, but now I’m hooked. It’s a simple feature that can make a huge difference.
Last I checked, plastic isn’t gathered from plants or harvested in fields. It’s made, used, and then tossed into a landfill (or hopefully recycled). Still, recycling requires money, time, and processing. By not even using the bottle in the first place and bringing your own you can cut back on plastic and still get the water you need. As a student, I’m trying to drink more water because I know I can’t think when my brain is crusty. The simple water fountain spigots make it easy to “pour my own.”
My charge would be for students to cut back on their plastic consumption while getting the water they need. Contact your University or College or school and request that they make water easier to dispense into personal water bottles and reduce pollution in the process. There’s no reason why consuming one precious resource should ruin so many others.