Water in the closet?

Clean drinking water, hot showers and toilets you can flush on: these are actually only a few of the things that I/we who are living in a more developed country expect always to work and are taken for granted. When it does not work, we got big problems.

The things we take for granted to exist is what others take for granted not to exist, at all times, everywhere. Here in Auroville, in India, I can not always find; clean drinking water, hot showers, running water, toilets you can flush on and so on. I am happy that I have all of these things at home and all people should also have that. Where to find something as basic as clean water should not be a daily question or headache when trying to make a livelihood and a life for one self.

At home we take long showers and baths, letting the water run while brushing our teeth etcetera etcetera. Why? Because we can. We can use (cold) freshwater without affecting for example India only because of our country´s privileged geographic position in the world. But what can we in for example Sweden or any other water-rich or capitalistic country do to help the world’s water scarcity?

Our hot water usage is wasting the Erath’s energy resources, so be aware of that and practise short showers and not leave hot water running is important. However, Amrutdarma talked about the water we do not see or know about, how much water it takes to produce clothes and food, “virtual water”. According to www.drickkranvatten.se 97 percent of our daily water consumption is invisible water, 2700 litre water is used to produce one shirt and what people living in the highest coffee consuming country should know is that it takes 140 litre (!) water to make one cup of coffee. As much as countries who are effected by a water scarcity needs to think about water-efficient alternative for producing textiles, we water-rich and capitalistic countries need to take responsibility in our consumption and way of thinking. The Auroville way of addressing the issue of consumption is interesting. For example at the Pour Tous Distribution Center you do not buy more than you really.

In Sweden we are usually rather good at looking up what additives our food contains and now days even more about which companies that produces it and are critical and try to be as environmentally aware as possible. I believe that we should add to that list an awareness regarding the virtual water that goes into food, products and clothing during the production phase and which countries the stores buy their clothes and fabrics from. We should demand that stores and purchasers are “water friendly”. How many times do we hear “do not buy too many clothes, think about the water”? Not once. How many people know that their shopping bags with clothes and food contains thousands of litres of water, that does not come from their “own” water supplies? How many people know that theirs overconsumption of food and the food waste contributes to wasting the worlds water supplies. That leads me to think about how much water we store in our wardrobes and closets that will not return to its owner, the earth? Hundred of thousands, some of us probably store millions of litres. Walking closets are just waterparks and runways during fashion weeks are just a lot of fancy and designed water.

//Jonna, Linnaeus University


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