The average person uses up to 100 gallons of water a day.
Every time you flush your toilet, you are flushing up to 2 gallons of water.
My toddler is potty trained (3 year old) and in the process of potty training (1 year old). While big brother knows now that we let it mellow if it’s yellow, little sister doesn’t yet, though he tells her every time she flushes. I’ve told him that the reason we don’t flush every time is that if we did, the fishies is in the ocean wouldn’t have enough water to swim around in. OK, I’ll admit, that’s not quite true.
But how do you teach a 3 year old (and a 1 year old for that matter) the reasons why we don’t want to waste water?
Do you tell them that there are kids that live in deserts that don’t have much water, and so we should use as little as possible so that they can have some too? Or that there are animals in the forest and jungles that need water too, and we need to share with them?
For my 3 year old, those would probably work, but what works best, I think, is living by example. Our kids learn so much by watching what we do: when we leave the water on while scrubbing our hands or brushing our teeth, they’re going to think it’s OK, and do it too. If we’re running the dishwasher without it being full, that’s how they’ll do it when they’re grown up. By taking shorter showers, watering our grass less (because no, it doesn’t need to be the deepest shade of green all summer), investing in low flow toilets and faucets, having a water filter and reusable water bottles, we’re teaching our kids how to be water conscious without really having to do anything.
Why should you, though? You have plenty of water coming into your house, right? There’s no need for you to conserve, no shortage in your area. The dam is full, the canals are flowing, and everyone has their sprinklers on.
You should do it because almost 1/5th of the world’s population lives in areas where water is physically scarce; because families like yours are hoarding what water they do have in their homes, which grows all sorts of bacteria; because if you don’t teach your children that there are people less fortunate than you that need your help or at least some sort of conservation effort, they won’t learn. Because access to water is a human right, and that goes for everyone, even if you’ll never meet them. Be water conscious because almost 38,000 children die a week from unsafe water. Mothers and fathers lose their children because of tainted water; the same water that comes so easily and cleanly into your life.
Do what you can to teach your children to be water conscious, get out of the “water is free and endless” mindset, and always try to remember that everything you do will shape what your children do as adults.
Together, moms can make a difference for their kids and the rest of the world, one drop of precious water at a time.