"Now that the whole world is experiencing the effects of a major disaster, we have the opportunity to re-evaluate some of our choices. COVID-19 has transformed everyday life so significantly that the effects are already visible from space, showing us that change is possible and results are tangible. COVID-19 is teaching us (among other things) that our eagerness for creation should not result in the destruction of our planet.
Here are five simple things we can all start doing to have a healthier relationship with water and our environment in the future.
1. Follow the food pyramid, which forms the basis of the Mediterranean diet. Our weekly food intake should be mainly composed of fruit, vegetables and grains, with minor presence of animal-based proteins. It takes 31 mixed salads to make the water footprint of one burger.
2. Look at how food is produced. Regenerative agriculture, permaculture and organic farming aim to improve the quality and productivity of soil so that it retains moisture, minimizing the need for excessive irrigation. Hydroponic, aquaponic, aeroponic and vertical farming make it possible to grow produce very efficiently.
3. Eat unprocessed food. While the water footprint of whole foods is made up entirely of the water needed to grow, processed foods require additional water for cleaning, pre-cooking, and making packaging materials.
4. Reconsider where to live and shop. As food and other products are traded, their water footprint follows them in the form of virtual water. Which means that every time you consume an imported product, you don’t only increase its footprint by the water needed to take care of shipment, but you also take away water from its local population. Supporting your house, neighbourhood and city to grow more food can have a hugely positive impact on your water footprint, as well as supporting existing local producers.
5. Think twice before buying new clothes. It takes about 2,700 litres of water to make just one t-shirt, enough for one person to drink for 900 days. The average woman will own 372 cardigans and 558 pairs of trousers during her adult life. The fast-fashion industry is based on us buying items extremely often, but do we really need all of them?"