Nonprofit on the Rocks - Water is Life

Season 4 | Episode 6

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“I have a real problem with people suffering, and water connects a lot of our equity
issues, globally, education, and girls and women, and the elderly. Just so many different things
are connected to having, or not having, clean water and sanitation. So, I figured if I worked in
water, I could help not only people, but I could also help the environment.”

 


Matt talks to Erin Huber Rosen, founder and executive director of Drink Local, Drink Tap, a nonprofit based in Cleveland, Ohio dedicated to improving water equity through projects, programming and partnerships because they believe access to clean water is a human right. The pair discuss what can be done on a both macro and micro scale to improve the sustainability of water and the environment, and Matt, once again, gets chastised for using single-use plastic and taking long showers (twice a day).


Matt:

The majority of our water here [in California] goes to all of the products that we're growing, that people eat and drink in the country. So, okay, that aside: what can we possibly do? I mean, I don't understand why we can't build just desalination plants all up and down the coast. 

Erin:

Oh, I have so many answers to this question.

One is a very commonly talked about response, which is, it takes so much energy to desalinate. It is  very energy intensive process. So, I'm sure there's technology coming out every day to make it better. But, , that's one of the reasons. Two for me. It doesn't, inspire behavior change.

And so, we're still just, just gonna be using and abusing forever and ever that's still not sustainable. So, I think that there's a behavior change component and. I think there are other technologies that can help us that maybe are more environmentally friendly and sustainable. And I think,  Israel for instance, has a lot to teach us in the way that they turn to desert into growing the most amazing food in the, on the planet.

So, yeah, I think that there's a couple different reasons. We can't do that. And, I'm not actually sure about the, the pollution side of desalinating, but obviously you're taking all of this salt out of the water where you putting it, that also becomes,  a way a new waste product.

Matt:

Every day that I'm, you know, using water, I think to myself, like crap, this isn't something that we just have. And  I know that It's not so easy to just increase the rates and have us pay more. And that's also not equitable and that's not fair.

And obviously, you know, you have these folks who are rich, who are living in these huge houses who waste all the water in the world. They're the ones who use it the most, which is really ridiculous. And by the way, if they got fined, they could afford it. So, aside from desalination plants and, you know, behavior change, people who are listening right now, what's like three things that we can do individually at our residents that can actually truly save water and make a difference.

Erin:

Well to save water, I mean, there's all this stuff that we heard growing up as kids, right? It's turning off the faucet when you brush your teeth, taking shorter showers, like Jen getting a timer in your shower. Again, I'm not a technology pusher, but I guess there are meters or alarms or trackers that you can hook up to your plumbing in your house to let you know where are you using the most water and where you can conserve more. But I think even in a bigger scope and something that most people don't think about is how and what we consume every day.

And so water conservation comes through your diet, eating more plant-based,  you know, having a more plant-based lifestyle than meat or dairy; making sure that you're buying what you need and not always just what you want--not just supporting, creating products just to have, because you saw an Instagram ad--taking a couple more seconds before you buy that you don't need. 

And I think buying better. So buying from more sustainable companies like Patagonia or whatever, who actually put thought into their waste streams and where they're sourcing everything, there's a lot to that and it adds up, but I think water conservation, your diet number one.


LINKS:

Learn More about Drink Local Drink Tap 


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