By David B. LaFrance, CEO, American Water Works Association
Changing the world may seem like a daunting task but it really isn’t if you look at the cumulative impact that small, achievable lifestyle changes can have.
In time for the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit in New York City, I participated in a panel discussion on “#EveryDropCounts: Small Changes Make a Big Climate Impact” as part of the Colgate “Save Water” campaign. The discussion took place on UN Plaza and was a great opportunity to support water efficiency measures, including promoting the upcoming “Imagine a Day Without Water”—on Oct. 23 this year – which invites us to focus on the value of water in our daily lives. (More on that at www.imagineadaywithoutwater.org).
The panel consisted of Mina Guli, an Australia-based ultra-marathoner and water activist who partnered with Colgate for her #RunningDry journey, where she attempted to run 100 marathons in 100 days with the goal to “make saving water famous” and Vance Merolla, Colgate's worldwide director of global sustainability, who has been instrumental in optimizing the company’s environmental practices. It was moderated by Adam Gordon, engagement director for the United Nations Global Compact Network USA.
We talked about small lifestyle changes making huge environmental impacts. The EPA says each person that turns off the faucet while brushing their teeth for two minutes can save up to the equivalent of 64 glasses of water each time. That adds up to more than 46,000 glasses per year. Saving water also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions because drinking water and wastewater treatment systems are so energy intensive.
If one person can make such a significant positive impact, think about what could happen when entire neighborhoods or states or even countries make similar lifestyle changes.
How will you change the world? Maybe start by imagining a day without water.