It’s almost time to stuff the turkey and get out the fine china, and in the Thanksgiving spirit, we’ve begun thinking of things that we’re grateful for. This year, access to clean and fresh water is at the top of our list.
Trace back your steps so far today. Maybe you started your day with a shower, or a workout class, or with a hot pot of coffee. Whatever your day entails, access to clean water was involved — and probably something you took for granted.
This year, take a moment to recognize how lucky you are to have access to clean water anytime you need it. Then, on Thanksgiving Day, practice a few water conservation tips to do your part.
How much fresh water is in the world today?
It’s easy for you to get freshwater any time you need it, but chew on this for a second. 70% of the world is covered in water, but only 2.5% of that is freshwater. Of that freshwater, a mere 1% is accessible for usage; the rest is trapped in glaciers and snowfields. Put together, about 0.007% of the planet’s water is available for the 6.8 billion people.
To make things even more difficult, that 0.007% isn’t evenly distributed around the world. Factors like geography, climate, engineering, and more mean that some areas have more than enough freshwater and/or can get it easily. In the developing world, clean freshwater is much harder to find, and it often requires a lot of money, a lot of work, or both. In fact, charity: water claims that 663 million people in the world live without clean water. Among the countries with the least access to clean water are Papua New Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Chad, and Mozambique.
How can you save water on Thanksgiving?
- Defrost your frozen turkey in the refrigerator instead of the cold water method (give yourself 24 hours of defrosting in the fridge for every 4-5 pounds of frozen turkey).
- Wash vegetables in a large bowl instead of running the water, then reuse the water in your garden.
- Peel wet potatoes by dipping them in a bowl of water instead of running the water.
- Steam food in a strainer over whatever items you have boiling; you won’t use additional water, plus you’re saving a burner for another delicious side dish.
- Instead of filling each glass (or reusable water bottle!) at the table with water, place a large pitcher with cold water in the center of the table so people can take only what they need (the rest can be used to water plants).
- Reduce water usage by reducing food waste. It takes more than 500 gallons of water to produce one pound of turkey. Instead of tossing out mountains of leftovers, think about serving smaller portions (no one really needs a food baby anyway). Also, ask guests to bring their own reusable storage containers to take home leftovers.
- Keep a watering can in your kitchen to dump half-filled water glasses in, then reuse this water for a garden or for a pet to drink.
- Wash all the dishes that you can in a dishwasher. For Grandma’s fine china that you absolutely have to hand wash, fill one basin with wash water and one basin with rinse water instead of letting the water run.
We all have a lot to be thankful for. By taking steps to reduce water usage on Thanksgiving, you’ll ensure that we’ll be thankful for access to clean water for years to come.