I grew up with a lot of water around me – mostly water falling from the sky, but I was close to an ocean, a sound, several lakes and had a small creek in my back yard. Seattle was an oasis of green and blue with a background of snow-capped mountains. As a young girl, I learned a lot about taking care of my environment. I don’t know if it’s because we were living in the land of trees and therefore, we had lots of tree-huggers or what, but recycling, water conservation and not pouring things down the sewer were commonplace and the norm. In fact, I remember going around painting stenciled warnings that what goes down the sewer drains would end up in our rivers and ocean.
These habits, thankfully, are still ingrained in me as an adult. It’s the little things that we do – which add up when we are all doing it together – that can make an impact on our environment. One of my real fears is that we will run out of water or not be able to get access to clean water because of pollution. Growing up in a place where rain was almost a daily occurrence, I was always in shock when we had to conserve water because of dry spells (yes, we had those in Seattle!). As an adult, there were several times where I could not drink or use the tap water because of water main breaks or some pollutant in the water source. It never occurred to me that I could not access clean water readily or severe droughts would be a reality in the United States. Despite growing up with environmentally friendly habits, I never really faced or considered what the consequences might be if we didn’t take care of our environment, especially our water.
I never thought of water as being something that could be a limited resource in the past, but I definitely think of it that way now. I also am realizing the importance and convenience of access to clean water. In my few travels abroad, I experienced the lack of that access and how difficult it makes everyday tasks. Recently, I was heartbroken and angered when I learned the fact that the entire town of Flint, MI (in the United States!) did not have access to clean water.
The thought that my daughter may not have shortages of water or unclean water truly scares me. In our home, we make sure to turn off the faucet while brushing teeth and making sure that our laundry and dishwasher are always running with full loads. We also have been looking into options of what we can do to make our house more eco-friendly. Whatever little thing we do, I know that it makes an impact to change our environmental future.
And every time it rains, I whisper my thanks to all the drops of water falling down on me.