Water, water everywhere…

How much water does it take to make a regular cup of coffee? It is not a trick question. But the answer is not what you might expect either. According to the Water Footprint Network, there are around 140 litres of water used in the entire life-cycle of a cup of coffee. This statistic is even more shocking when you consider that water scarcity affects around 40% of the global population. The international charity, WaterAid, estimates that about one in ten people around the world “have no choice but to get water from wherever they can, whether it’s a dirty pond or an expensive water vendor”. Every day, around 900 children under-five die from diarrhoeal diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation. Historic droughts are also increasing across the planet, including California. The number of people that have to walk miles every day to collect safe water is set to rise. And yet, the lack of clean water is an issue that hardly received a mention at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris last December.

There is no need to wait for global leaders to make positive change, however. Tuesday March 22nd marks UN World Water Day when we are all asked to show that we care about the global water crisis and that we have the power to make a difference.

Linda Kalnina and I did plenty of walking this weekend with the group of students that joined us on the field trip to Paris. We certainly appreciated how lucky we were that we could carry the fresh water we needed for these exertions. But we also realised that we are not drinking enough water when we are sat comfortably at our desks at Faraday House. The idea that we need eight to ten glasses of water to stay healthy has been debunked in recent research. If you are anything like me however, choosing to fill your glass with water means that you do not have to worry whether you are consuming too many soft drinks filled with sugar. Avoiding a can of soda or a cup of coffee can also dramatically reduce your own water footprint.

During this month of March, you can join Linda and I in taking up the challenge to drink more water. (Remember to refill your own bottle when you can and avoid some of the environmental costs of buying new bottles of water, which are often imported from around the world.) We also invite you to join us on World Water Day in being mindful of the water that we consume and waste. We will only be drinking water and donating the money that would have been spent on other drinks to WaterAid in their work to provide more people with safe, clean water. Please come and see us in the Program Office if you want more information on our Health and Wellness Challenge for March or how to get involved on World Water Day on Tuesday 22nd.

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