Why the World is Running Out of Clean Water

Why the World is Running Out of Clean Water

Clean Water Facts:

 

The world is running out of clean water because there isn’t much potable (drinkable) water to start with. I bet that you have heard that 70% of the world’s surface is covered by water. But did you know that 97.5% of it is salt water?  This means that only 2.5% of all the water on earth is drinkable. Of that, almost 68.7% of the freshwater is frozen in ice caps and glaciers. 

So in total, only 1% of all the water resources on earth are available for human use!

Water is the foundation of life, yet 783 million people do not have access to clean and safe water worldwide.

While the population and demand on freshwater resources are increasing, the supply will always remain constant. The EPA website states that the U.S. population has doubled over the past 50 years, while our thirst for water has tripled!!!

The EPA estimates that at least 40 states anticipate having water shortages by 2024, and the need to conserve water is critical.

Although it’s true that the water cycle continuously returns water to Earth, it is not always returned to the same place, or in the same quantity and quality. Humans have a tendency to add chemicals, waste, and hormones that pollute the water system.

The USGS (United States Geological Survey) estimates that each person uses around 80-100 gallons of water per day!

The Average American Water Utility Bill 

sustainability Water usage

According to the Water Research Foundation, toilets, showers, and faucets are the biggest consumers of our clean water resources (within a household). Luckily I have found 3 great and super cheap ways to help you become a clean water saving hero!

The best thing of all is that these water saving gadgets will more than pay for themselves in 1-2 years!

Then it’s extra saving into the bank for next 5-8 years (or the lifespan of their useful lives)!!! 

By curtailing our water use and pollution we can reduce the impact of climate change and hopefully slow down global warming!

Woo hoo! This means healthier lives, more savings, and a happier Mother Earth!!!

 

What You Can Do Today to Help Save Our Clean Water Resources

I wish the products for sustainability were sexier. I mean, come on… Selling a Lamborghini with a bikini-clad model is way easier to market than a water-conserving toilet tank bag!!!

But my hope is to make sustainability “cool”. Because after all, living in a wasteland is NOT sexy…

So here is my bikini-clad model showcasing this very “cool” and sustainable toilet tank bag! 

sustainability. clean water bikini

A Water Conserving Toilet Tank Bag:

Sustainability. Clean water

This super cheap water displacement pouch conserves 80 -160 oz. of water per flush!

One gallon of water is equal to 128 oz. Say for math sake, you fill the bag up to the smallest level of water savings (80 oz). You then take the average household of 4 people that flush around 4,000 times per year and multiply it by the amount of water saved per flush 80 x 4,000 = 320,000 oz of water. Now we divide that number by 128 oz to get the amount in gallons.

The average household can save up to 2,500 gallons of water per year! 

This is a much cheaper option than purchasing a brand new low flow toilet. Remember, remodeling and construction are one of the most wasteful industries. If your toilet works just fine, then save water and money by converting your current toilet into a low flow toilet using this water displacement bag.

If your current toilet is broken or needs to be replaced, you can visit this toilet cost calculation website to find out how much it will cost to replace your current throne with a low flow version. A standard toilet install should take between one and two hours to complete and cost an average of $348 or less to install. Plus the cost of a low flow toilet.

Don’t have $400-$800 for material, labor, supplies, and tools to install a low flow toilet? Opt for this inexpensive fix!!!

Click here to learn more about  the Toilet Tank Bank

Low Water Flow Showerhead:

 

sustainability clean water showerheadIn an average home, showers typically consume 20% of the utility bill. The average American shower uses 17 gallons and lasts for 8 minutes (or 2.1 gallons per minute). 

This showerhead has a low flow rate of 1.2 gallons per minute. Meaning that by making the switch you could be saving 7.4 gallons of water per shower.

If we take the average household of 4 people who shower once per day, that equals 10,804 gallons of clean water saved per year!!!

The Math:

  • If the average shower lasts 8 minutes, and this showerhead has a water flow rate of 1.2 x 8 minutes= 9.2 gallons.
  • 17 gallons-9.6 gallons used=7.4 gallons saved!
  • If the average household contains 4 people, then 7.4 gallons x 4 people x 365 days per year=10,804 gallons of water saved per year per house!!

 

According to the US Census Bureau, the population of America is 325 million as of 2017. Imagine how many millions of gallons of clean water we could save?!?

This super awesome showerhead comes with 5 spray pattern functions (Saturating, Massage, Dot Massage, Saturating & Massage, Saturating & Dot Massage), and has a 1-year limited warranty!

If you wanted to turn up the shower pressure, it has a maximum 2 GPM water flow rate at 80 PSI (meaning that you could get a mini back massage out of the deal)!

By switching over to this low flow WaterSense showerhead you get the same benefits of a squeaky clean body, but with the satisfaction that you are saving money and the environment!

Click here for more details Kingston Brass WaterSense showerhead

 

Low Flow Faucet Conversion Attachment:

sustainability clean water Sense water faucet

By reducing the faucet flow rate, you can save a ton of clean water. Faucets are the third largest consumer of water in your household, and there are many of them throughout your house.

The good news is that these faucet conversion attachments are super cheap!!! Unless you have a very special faucet head, this conversion kit will easily screw on to most bathroom and kitchen faucet nozzles.

Click here for more details Low Flow Faucet conversion

How to Save Water at Home: 

 

  1. Shut off faucets whenever possible 🙂
  2. Make sure your faucets don’t drip or leak. Tighten those babies up!
  3. Use a water flow-reducer on your tap, shower, and toilet.
  4. When hand-washing dishes, don’t run the water continuously.
  5. Try washing dishes in a partially filled sink and then rinse them using the spray attachment on your tap.
  6. If you have a dishwasher, make sure you wash full loads. You use the same amount of water whether you are washing a partial or full load of dishes.  Check to see if your dishwasher has a conserver/water-miser cycle!
  7. When brushing your teeth, turn the water off while you are actually brushing. Use short bursts of water for cleaning your toothbrush. (This saves about 80% of the water normally used.) This also goes for shaving.
  8. If you have to wait a period of time for the hot water to reach the shower, try collecting the normally discarded cold water in a bucket for watering plants.
  9. Wash full loads in your washing machine, and check to see it has a “suds-saver” feature cycle.
  10. Look for “environmentally friendly” products while shopping.

How You Can Save Water Outdoors: 

  1. Lawns and gardens require only 5 millimeters of water per day during warm weather. Less is needed during spring, fall, or cool weather.
  2. Consider decorating your garden with plants that grow locally!
  3. Water lawns every three to five days, rather than for a short period every day. Water in the evenings to prevent it from quickly evaporating. Plants will have all night to soak it all in!
  4. Soil cannot store extra water, so over-watering in an anticipation of a shortage doesn’t pencil out.
  5. Use sprinkler timers to manage how much water is being used.

 

Be the change you want to see in the world. As Michael Jackson would say, ‘If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself, and make a change”.

Become a Water Saving Hero Today!

It’s easy and convenient. If you have Amazon Prime and purchase all of these items together you will get them in 2 days and it will ship for free to your door!!!

If you have enjoyed this article or have any questions, please leave them in the comment section below!

 

 

Photo Credits below:

Average utility bill EPA

Domestic water use EPA 

EPA WaterSense logo

 

How to Diversify and Allocate your Finances

How to Diversify and Allocate your Finances

How to diversify and allocate your finances

The diversification of your finances is one of the most important tasks you can work (or get started) on today. We often hear that the best time to start is now.

The good news is that Millennials and the Z Generation still have a long life ahead of them. Saving and investing for the future works best when you have longevity on your side! This is because of the compounding nature of interest.

Compounding occurs when a bank or an account pays interest on both the principal (the original amount of money) and the interest an account has already earned.

To calculate compounding interest you can visit Investor.gov.

 

Types of Accounts that Pay Compounding Interest:

 

  • Most savings accounts
  • money market accounts
  • certificates of deposit (CDs)
  • Retirement accounts (IRA’s and 401k’s)

Interest Rates: A Current and Historical View

 

Over the past several years, the federal funds rate (the interest rate at which the federal reserve lends money to other banking institutions) has been ridiculously low! The Federal Reserve has been trying to stimulate the economy by lowering the interest rate.

This means that the public is penalized for keeping their money in the bank and incentivized to invest in the stock market or take out loans to purchase larger items.

Currently, at the time of this writing, you are lucky to get even close to a 1% return on your investment for putting cash in the bank.

The world of finance is part of a natural business cycle. What goes up,  must come down. This means that although we have experienced nearly 8 years of fairly low interest rates, the federal reserve will someday have to increase it in order to prevent a runaway (overheated) economy.

Over the last 200 years we can see that interest rates have increased and decreased over time:

Finance.-Average-interest-rate-over-200-years

Photo credit average interest rate over the last 200 years

Why Cash is King

You might be saying, why would I put my money in the bank and only earn 1%? Especially since inflation is nearly 2% to 3% per year! Wouldn’t I be losing money? The short answer is yes.

This is why I recommend a diversified portfolio. In financial terms, diversification means spreading out your risk. In more simple terms, it means not putting all of your eggs in one basket. You should allocate a percentage of your income each month towards saving, investing, and retirement.

You may be wondering why I am advocating that a portion of your investment portfolio should be held in cash. This is because cash is king! Currently, we have been experiencing an 8-year bull market. While it might be tempting to invest all of your money into the skyrocketing stock market, at some point the market will take a turn.

When it does, the cash that you have been saving will give you the opportunity to purchase heavily discounted assets (foreclosed homes, stocks that took a beating, etc).

There are two kinds of buyers. Momentum buyers and contrarians.

Momentum buyers purchase when the stock market is rallying (headed in an upwards direction) and believe that the stock will continue to rise. This is also called purchasing with the crowd or crowd consensus.

On the other hand, contrarians love discount shopping! Contrarians know that the business cycle has natural ups and downs. They are the ones waiting for the inevitable “coming of winter” (Game of Thrones reference there). Contrarian investors were the ones purchasing all of the foreclosed homes in the middle of the Great Recession (in 2010) with CASH!

Roth IRA’s

In a prior blog ” Roth IRA: How to Become a Millionaire by the Time You Retire! “, I explain how over any 40 year period the average return rate of the stock market is about 7% a year. This includes all of the ups and downs (booms and busts). An awesome blog called, “Dollar after Dollar” created a Pinterest post showing how compounded interest works (he used an 8% yearly return on investment).

Most of the Millennial and Z Generation realize that Social Security will probably be a thing of the past (when we come of age to collect).

This means that more than ever we need to save for our retirement, have a rainy day fund, plan for our children’s college savings(through a tax-advantaged 529 plan), and have enough money to enjoy our lives today.

The financial world can be difficult to navigate, which is why it is so important to prioritize and automate many of the functions. Automation is the best thing that can happen to your financial life! The specific steps are included in this blog.

The Current Financial Situation for the Millennial and Z Generation 

Millennial’s, people who are born from 1981 to 1996 and are now between the ages of 22 to 37. We are entering a stage where many of us are getting married, having children, and really getting into our careers.  The difficulty is that our finances are being pulled from many opposing directions.

For the Z Generation (1995 to 2010 or ages 8-22) the oldest of you are just starting college, landing your first job, learning how to build credit, possibly navigating taking on student debt, and living on your own.

You are at the perfect point where building the right habits can really make a difference in the trajectory of your life! You haven’t had time to make bad and severely impactful financial decisions yet.  What you do NOW will affect the rest of your life.

One of the biggest takeaway points that I learned from a finance professor in college was to start a Roth IRA and max it out ($5,500) every year for 40 years. If you do this, financial calculators online will show you that you can save over $1 million for your retirement.

Growing up with FOMO (fear of missing out) has led to a situation where many Millenials have not started to save for retirement or plan for the future. Generation Z, don’t let this be your story too. Prioritizing and planning through a set of predetermined percentages will help you set aside the right amount of money each month.

Steps to Get your Finances on Track:

1) Track your income and expenses

2) Go through your monthly expenses and see where you can cut back on spending

3) Set a dollar amount or percentage of income that you want to save per month

4) Look at your expenses and see what else needs to be eliminated so that you can meet that goal (step 3)

5) Set up overdraft protection on your bank accounts (and credit cards)

6) Set up an auto deduction of the dollar amount you chose to save (step 3) to be diverted to a “rainy day” fund account (your bank will be able to help you do this. Most banks allow you to set this up online as well).

7) Set up an auto deduction of $458 ($5,500/year) each month to be diverted to a Roth IRA. Read about how to dollar cost average and purchase ETFs.

8) Set your credit cards, rent/mortgage, and utilities on auto pay.

9)Perform a monthly audit of your credit card statements. I have personally caught at least one fraudulent financial transaction every 6-8 months on one of my credit cards.

10) Check your credit history and score often!

** A rainy day fund: should cover 3-6 months of expenses without any income coming in.

Taking these steps will ensure that you are automatically saving each month. It means that you have made saving a priority!

Do not save what is left over after spending, spend what is left over after saving!

Warren Buffet

If you are maxing out your credit cards, read “How to Increase your Credit Score Now”.

 

Ways to Cut Expenses (Costs):

  • Go on a hike instead of going to the movies- This doubles as exercise and a great way to chat with family or catch up with a friend!
  • Cook at home and meal prep instead of going out to eat- Read the article How to Aggregate Time to Become More Efficient
  • swap yoga and calisthenics on Youtube for a gym membership
  • Opt for Netflix and your cancel cable subscription
  • Live in a smaller apartment
  • Most outdoor activities only require that you buy the equipment once (there is no membership cost)

 

Just remember, every dollar and activity comes with an opportunity cost. There is always a cheaper alternative! On that note, let’s talk about the opportunity cost (the loss of an alternative option) of the earth’s natural resources vs exponential economic growth!

Balancing Economic Growth with Environmental Sustainability:

 

The difficulty is that we live in an economy of ever-increasing exponential economic growth. The government and financial institutions would like to see a 2% to 3% growth in GDP every year for the indefinite future. In order for this to happen, we constantly need to go through boom and bust debt cycles. According to Investopia’s article called “Is Infinite Economic Growth on a Finite Planet Possible?

Economic growth has been defended for its contributions to human well-being and increasing standards of living. Yet, it is becoming more evident that the degree to which economic growth has depended upon increasing use of the Earth’s natural resources is unsustainable. It is clear that we cannot continue to consume more water, burn more fuel and spew out more and more carbon dioxide at ever increasing rates. While theoretically possible, we are at a point in history where separating economic growth from physical growth has to become a reality or economic growth will begin to reduce human well-being.

Natural resource depletion and degradation have left us with phrases such as peak oil, global warming, and climate change.

I am sure we remember our parents telling us that relationships work best when we “give and take”. The relationship between humans and mother nature has been unequal for a long time. I urge you to read the children’s book “The Giving Tree”.

Not only is budgeting and saving money good for your bottom line, but it is also good for the planet. We need to learn to live in harmony because it is our future that is at stake. This blog is all about education and promoting intellectual conversations. What kinds of activates do you do that are low cost and have a low environmental impact? Comment below!

The Truth About Why a Sustainable Future is Critical

The Truth About Why a Sustainable Future is Critical

The transition to a sustainable future (including renewable energy) is critically important. This is because we are at a pivotal moment where we can make significant changes to alter our course in history. Change is never easy, but it will be much easier than facing a depleted planet where resources truly are scarce. Changing to a renewable energy and sustainable society is the most important issue we face today. Saving the environment and preventing global warming impacts every individual on this planet, regardless of social economic status or physical location.

“Natural clean gas” uses a technique called fracking, which pollutes the water table and results in toxic undrinkable water. Question: What would happen in a future where water became so limited that only the rich could afford it? Click here to read about 9 fantastic reasons why we should switch to renewable energy. The article explains how making the switch can save you money, strengthen our national security, and much more.

Water is an inelastic product, meaning that even if the price of water went to $100 a bottle, you would still need to purchase it. Water is not an item you could decide to cut back on. In this imaginary future, people would do unimaginable acts to provide water for their children. I’m not trying to paint a picture of doom and gloom…On the other hand, don’t want to bury my head in the sand about how life could be.

Changing for a Better More Sustainable Future:

Humanity as a whole is made up of individuals who can each make a difference. In Malcolm Gladwell‘s book “The Tipping Point“, he explains how ideas can spread like wildfires. Thoughts and trends need to reach a critical mass, at which point they become viral and unstoppable.

Making the change towards a sustainable future needs to become the new “cool”. We can see large companies like Walmart (which once had a negative sustainability reputation) succumb to society’s outrage and pressure to become a more socially responsible entity. Walmart now publicizes its efforts to be a more sustainable company through their global value chains.

By voting, voicing, and strategically using our dollars to support conscious consumerism we as individuals can change the future!

Over the last century, lavish living has become the ideal lifestyle. The media and corporations have equated yachts, Ferraris, and large homes with happiness. When in reality these items cause us to get into debt, which enslaves us to our jobs.

“Big business” has marketed a lavish living lifestyle in order to encourage us to spend more money. This inevitably usurps the time that we could be spending with our family and friends. As a society, we need to take a step back and really evaluate what is critically important.

How to Properly Look at the Future:

Sometimes we get caught up in the weeds and become nearsighted about our future goals. I encourage you to look at the future as if you were staring at it from a scenic vista.

One New York Times headline that shocked me was “Burying ‘One Child’ Limits, China Pushes Women to Have More Babies”! China is now encouraging women to have more children in order to spur the population growth rate.

From an economic standpoint, I understand how a larger population equates to a larger workforce with more spending power. This makes me wonder if our planet really needs more people (to feed, house, and support). This new policy states that economic stimulus (through population growth) is more important than the negative effects of overpopulation and resource depletion.

The Start of a Cultural Change With the Environment in Mind

We can see that sustainability is starting to play a lead role in Hollywood films. This is especially true for the genre of movies geared toward children. Animated feature films like WALL-E, Bambi, Cars 2, and Over The Hedge all incorporate an environmental twist.

Plot lines like the one in Cars 2, portray alternative-fuel protagonists standing up against “big oil” villains. In the movie “WALL-E”, the Earth has been reduced to a deserted, trash-covered ghost town. This film paints a vivid image of what a future Earth could look like if we do not change our current behaviors.

They say that inspiration and change start with the youth. I am excited to see how the entertainment industry is changing the mantra that they are telling our children.

Likewise, Hollywood is ramping up and sending its sustainability message to its adult audience.  In the movie “The Martian” starring Matt Damon, the film creators portray the difficulties of colonizing Mars. The movie does a fantastic job of tugging on your heart-strings, and it is very difficult to watch without getting emotional.

Another great movie that the entertainment industry has created is called “Passengers“.  The writers try to forewarn the public about a stark future in which we may have to leave Planet Earth. The Avalon, a sleeper ship transporting 5,000 colonists and 258 crew members in hibernation pods, is on course to the planet Homestead II, a journey taking 120 years.

Although these are fictional stories, they have very real messages. The fact is that even if we had the technology to travel to another planet, the journey would be very dangerous. Not to mention, the individuals who do decide to move would be leaving many of their loved ones behind. Additionally, communication over such vast distances would be extremely difficult due to the time to relay each message.

Colonizing Another Planet is Not an Option: 

In a prior blog, I detail how to consume a book every week and a half. The book that I have chosen to read this week is by Dr. Michio Kalu, who is the theoretical physicist. In his book “The Future of Humanity”, he writes about the logistics of colonizing Mars, interstellar space travel, and finding other worlds to inhabit.

Sustainability, environment, global warmingIn this book, he explores the many avenues of interstellar space travel and mankind‘s ability to terraform and colonize other planets. As I read through this book, the author really portrays the difficulties of accomplishing this enormous task. Not only are we several centuries away from having the proper technology to build a spaceship that could travel across the solar system, but we would also need to build a support infrastructure.

Resource articles on inhabiting Mars:

 

There is NO Planet B (Reduce Global Warming Now):

Many of today’s entrepreneurs and billionaires are obsessed with colonizing Mars. Although NASA’s goal is put the first human on Mars by 2030, sending millions of people across the 35 million miles through space to colonize Mars is not a realistic option B.

Living in harmony with planet Earth is the only option!

Moreover, Mars does not have an atmosphere. This means that intense UV light radiation makes it an inhabitable place to live. A new study by Nature Astronomy has found that with our current technology, transforming Mars into a second version of earth is impossible.

One major reason why I have created this blog is to be a part of the paradigm shift towards saving the only planet that we all live on!

Since the Industrial Revolution, baby boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials have grown up in a world where our food, health care, and consumer product industries have ravaged the planet. It is time that we start taking better care of the food that we put in our body and how we treat the planet.

I would like to ask the audience, how can we make sustainability cool? I look forward to reading your comments below!

 

Photo credit featured image

Photo credit book cover