Environmental News Made Simple
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Good morning curious.friends,

It covers 71% of the Earth's surface and we wouldn't last longer than a week without it.

This week we dive into the topic of water and ask... is our water crisis getting worse? And is opting out of our daily shower the solution? 

Oh, and we discover what recycling means for your sexuality.

Reading time is 3:17 minutes.
Climate Change

Are “Day Zeroes” becoming a thing of the climate crisis?

by Maya Comely

What's Going On Here?

Experts at the World Resources Institute (WRI) have warned that extreme water stress could increase the number of “day zeroes”: the day in which a city’s water supplies quite literally run dry.

What Does This Mean?
The report released by the WRI this week ranked the world’s countries from least to most water-stressed, with 17 countries (that’s nearly 1.8 billion people, or one quarter of the world’s population) facing extremely high water stress. 

⚠️ 💧 Water Stress 💧 ⚠️ = a region, country or city where fresh water resources have become insufficient. 

In those ranked as extremely water stressed (check out the WRI’s map based tool), it was found that up to 80% of available surface and groundwater was being used in an average year. Using 13 indicators for the rankings, the authors concluded that we have yet another global crisis on our hands. Sick of the word crisis yet? The report also notes that we have the solutions to fight it, we just need to implement them before we suck our ‘blue planet’ dry - so not all doom and gloom!

Why Should We Care?

The simple answer - water is life, and without it we’re pretty much pooped. But there’s so much more to say on this. The world is becoming increasingly water stressed as populations continue to grow and other environmental challenges such as global warming and pollution continue to worsen. Plus, global water stress poses serious threats to human lives and livelihoods.

Last year, Cape Town in South Africa 🇿🇦 was in the midst of an extreme water crisis, with the term “Day Zero” being coined to mark the day in which taps across the city would run dry. It was chaotic. With people waiting hours at water distribution points and protests kicking off across the city. Fortunately, Cape Town just about avoided their “DayZero” and they seem to be back on track - for now.  Yet last month in India’s sixth-largest city, Chennai, reservoirs nearly ran dry and authorities were forced to rely on water transported by train! Not ideal. 

Be Curious!

While in Cape Town last year I was very impressed with the easy (and so obvious!) measures for saving water at home. I must say taking bucket showers and using the collected water as toilet flusher took some getting used to, but it makes total sense! 

Ok maybe we’re not at that stage yet but make a start with the most obvious; 
  1. Turn that tap off when brushing ya gnashers
  2. Give the three minute shower challenge a go (say goodbye to those baths...)
  3. Only wash your clothes when you need to (make sure you check out our article on ‘washless’ clothes
  4. Surprise surprise - give up or reduce your meat consumption (Here are 10 shocking facts about meat-eating and water)!
Climate Change

Crazy, dirty hippies? Why not washing is becoming more mainstream.

by Lucie Machin

What's Going On Here?

A growing number of people are going without soap and shampoo and relying on bacteria to prevent themselves from going stinky.

What Does This Mean?

“Not washing” doesn’t actually mean that you stop rinsing off dirt or washing your hands with soap (unlike this guy 🤦). The phrase refers to those who choose to ditch traditional soaps and shampoos for a more natural wash. Whilst soaps and shampoos help to rid us of germs and dirt, they also kill off our body’s natural oils and helpful microbes, and interfere with its pH level. The idea behind this non-washing-movement is that by avoiding soaps, our body’s microbes and oil production will reach their natural balance again and be able to do their thang in peace.

So, do these people have any friends left? Surprisingly yes. Many people in the no-washing brigade claim that they actually “don’t smell” as a result of reaching this natural balance.

Several brands are now showering the market with products that “ensure a healthy skin microbiome”. The probiotic skincare market – a vague term which ranges from products lacking preservatives to ones with microbes suspended in a “gel matrix” (am I the only one to find this vaguely creepy?) - has grown by more than 300% in four years!

Why Should We Care?

A massive side-benefit of this is that by not washing, we could save a huge amount of water and resources. Showers account for the biggest water use in UK homes (wasting more than 2 billion gallons A DAY). Most products we use to wash ourselves come in plastic and contain palm oil, which is linked to deforestation and environmental destruction in places such as Borneo. And don’t even get us started about the hydrocarbon aerosol found in spray-deodorants...

Although hard scientific evidence is currently lacking, there are signs that suggest this technique could also have notable health benefits. There’s currently a heap of studies being done into the potential for this approach to treat some skin conditions such as acne, eczema and rosacea. 

Be Curious!

  1. Scrub up on the “No Poo” method and maybe give it a try?
  2. Not ready to join “the great unwashed”? 
  • What about showering less? 🚿
  • Choose plastic-free, sustainable soap and deodorant products  

Other news we found curious...

Men Don’t Recycle to Avoid Looking Gay - Out
McDonald’s Replaced Plastic Straws With Non-Recyclable Paper Straws - BBC
Tesco joins crackdown on plastic glitter for 2019 Christmas range - Guardian 
The Guardian view on climate breakdown: an emergency for all, but especially the poor - Guardian
Plastic pollution is making seabirds smaller and sicker - CNN
How wildfires trap carbon for centuries to millennia - Science Daily 
Rate of climate change is outpacing animals' ability to adapt - New Atlas
Maya Comely
Lucie Machin

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