Surveys indicate that nearly 70 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. While perennial favorites include eating better, exercising more and budgeting, your 2019 resolutions could make a positive difference if they involve water. Here are four water-related New Year’s resolutions that can benefit you AND the planet!
1. Drink more water: Here’s a way to tie water to the common New Year’s goal of improving your health. While there is no single recommendation for how much water a person should drink in a day, staying hydrated is critical for health. Water helps to regulate internal body temperature, transport nutrients to our cells, flush waste, lubricate joints, form saliva and act as a shock absorber for your brain and spinal cord. Because of all those many functions, dehydration can be life-threatening. Even under-hydration can affect your health: “Inadequate hydration can cause fatigue, poor appetite, heat intolerance, dizziness, constipation, kidney stones and a dangerous drop in blood pressure,” New York Times health columnist Jane Brody explained in a July 2018 column, adding that “brain effects include mood shifts, muddled thinking, inattentiveness and poor memory.” Don’t let that under-hydrated “poor memory” be an excuse for not drinking enough water, however. There are plenty of apps you can download to remind you!
2. Check for leaks: Did you know that household water leaks in the United States can waste nearly 1 trillion gallons of water annually, according to the EPA? Leaks are such a serious problem that the EPA has designated an annual observation devoted to fixing household leaks. “Fix a Leak Week” this year runs from March 18th through 24th, but you can find and fix leaks anytime to save valuable water (and money!). Learn more at the Fix a Leak Week website: https://www.epa.gov/watersense/fix-leak-week
3. Reduce food waste: Wasted food means wasted water. That’s because all the food we eat requires water to grow and raise. (Learn more in our newest children’s activity booklet: Water, Agriculture and Food.) According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, food waste in the United States is estimated at between 30-40 percent of the food supply, which corresponds to approximately 133 billion pounds worth of food wasted per year! While consumers cannot singlehandedly solve larger issues of food waste, each of us can take action to reduce food waste in our own homes, schools and workplaces. SavetheFood.com offers a full suite of tools and tips for reducing food waste, including common-sense measures that will even help kids do their part.
4. Support water education: No matter who you are, you can still educate people about water and improve access to objective, science-based water resources education. Classroom, non-formal and other educators can take a Project WET workshop with a local Coordinator or online to learn how to teach about water in ways that are engaging and correlated to NGSS and Common Core standards. Clean and Conserve, a water conservation and hygiene education program developed through Project WET’s partnership with Ecolab, is available to download free of charge and even includes short online tutorials to learn how to best use the educator activities. DiscoverWater.org, Project WET’s interactive website for kids, is now sponsored by Ecolab as well. Share the site with the young people in your life to help them learn about water. Finally, consider donating to Project WET. Your support allows us to train teachers, reach students, develop educational materials and strengthen our network of educators in all 50 U.S. states and more than 70 countries around the world.
New Year’s resolutions don’t have to be difficult to be valuable. These four (relatively) simple actions can make a difference in how you feel and will help conserve and protect water in 2019 and beyond.