Freshwater is the most valuable resource to human survival. No person can live longer than a week without it, and yet it is widely wasted. The United States alone consumes over 3.9 trillion gallons of water per month. (www.awwa.org/) On average, an American uses 176 gallons of water per day compared to 5 gallons of water a day (or less) used by people in developing countries. (www.water.org)
Although corporations have the largest water footprint of all, their ability to waste water relies on the demand for wasteful products. For instance, there is a high demand for meat in the United States. A typical American family may eat beef products at every meal. Meanwhile, one pound of beef requires over 3,000 gallons of water to produce. (http://www.waterfootprint.org) (People who eat vegan diets have significantly smaller "footprints" in this case.)
The examples of overwhelming wastefulness tied to the American lifestyle are numerous. Nevertheless, we will focus on one brand of mindless waste: the plastic water bottle. Not only does consuming bottled water use excess resources (it takes 3 litres of water to produce 1 litre of bottled water), it contributes to C02 emissions. In one year, bottling water for American consumption produced more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide (http://www.pacinst.org) Not to mention, there are billions of plastic bottles filling the oceans and landfills every day. That said, this is a major problem with major consequences on the horizon.
As students at an internationally renowned college, we will raise environmental awareness on campus through a global initiative. The 10:10 Environmental Movement “inspires people and their organizations to cut their C02 emissions by 10% in a year”. (www.1010global.org) The Ringling College of Art and Design will participate in 10:10 by hosting another environmental week. This time, the focus is water. During “Aqua Week”, there will be inter-college discussions about water, documentary screenings, and the unveiling of a recycled plastic art installation.