Living in California, water conservation is always something that is always on my mind. At one point, the shortage of water was so bad, city regulators fined households that used too much water at any given time or watered their lawns/lets their hoses run/etc. when their neighborhood was in a “no watering” period. Initially, this pissed off a lot of people (#RIPBougieManicuredLawns), but the reality is a lot of agriculture and farming happens in California…that, and we have more golf courses than most places (and no, most are not covered in fake grass), so water’s a resource that’s used (and needed) all the time.
Since it’s almost the weekend and I know y’all are just jonesing to saving the planet in your free time, I thought it’d be fun to share some *easy* ways that I try to conserve water in my own living space (& at my parents’ because, well, they have a lawn and I don’t…which is why my service dog loves when we visit their place because he gets to pee on a lawn that hasn’t been “tainted” (his words, not mine) by neighborhood dogs/cats/the occasional drunk human.
*EASY* TIPS TO CONSERVE WATER AT HOME
-I turn off the water when I’m brushing my teeth and only turn it on when I need to rinse.
-I only run the dishwasher if I have a full load of dishes. (Same goes for the laundry machine).
-I try not to linger in the shower – get in, wash up, get out. (I also don’t take super long, hot showers because that uses up more energy).
-If I have a leaky faucet (hello, shower), I try to have it fixed quickly (less wasted water).
-My parents have a yard and they only water it at night so it has more time to absorb into the roots of the grass (if you water it during the day, you’ll likely have to re-water it because the sun/heat makes it dry up faster). They also use a cool system that tracks the weather, so when it’s raining or damp, the sprinklers turn off (saving the grass from being over-watered & our water bill from being unnecessarily high)
-When washing vegetables, I let them soak instead of letting it run.
-If you’re landscaping or changing up the exterior of your home/living space, look into eco-friendly scapes that use little to no water. Rockscapes are a really cool alternative to grass (very popular in Arizona/other desert climates). You can also look into astroturf or other faux grass. My uncle purchased a “square ‘o grass” from Home Depot so his dog can have the outdoor experience of peeing on grass, without needing a yard (he lives in a townhome and puts the patch on the patio). His dog absolutely adores her square…but she’s also a smaller dog. This wouldn’t work for mine because 1) he likes to roam and find the perfect spot, 2) he’s a mid to large breed dog (German Shepherds, woo woo)…so when we don’t have the convenience of a lawn at our disposal, we opt for nearby parks or the like.
SO WHAT’S THIS CHALLENGE ABOUT?
The California Water Service and the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) have teamed up with the WestEd K-12 Alliance to create the California Water H20 Challenge, which is a project-based, environmentally-focused competition for classrooms with students in grades 4-6.
This is a unique opportunity where teachers can help children develop an understanding about environmental principles that are necessary to become science-literate citizens. Think of it like exposure at a young age will make them conscious about the planet and its sustainability when they’re adults *hopefully.*
The challenge is perfectly timed with the ongoing water crisis in California, because despite all the palm trees on postcards, we actually live in a desert climate that long-term doesn’t have enough natural water resources to sustain its ever-growing population (& lots of visitors)!
-Participating classrooms initiate, develop, and implement a four to eight week-long project (but it can be longer if the students & teacher want it to be). The project’s goal is to focus on caring for and about water. As a class, the students will explore how water’s both a local and global resource, while addressing local water issues as individuals and as a community.
-Teachers looking for resources with sample lesson plans and project ideas can look HERE.
-After completing the project, students create a final portfolio of their work. The link above has examples of what a portfolio might look like.
-Registration for the California Water H20 Challenge closes on January 31, 2018. All submissions by students and teachers are due February 28, 2018.
– about which California classrooms are eligible is listed under the “FAQ” section.
SO WHY THIS CHALLENGE?
-It’s a great opportunity to teach children about the planet in an academic environment while inspiring them to bring about changes in their community.
-It promotes all kinds of good skills the students can use later on in life like: learning to plan a project, follow through, team participation, and social awareness.
-In addition to the learning and experience, there are also some tangible prizes (because how else do you motivate a ten year-old to get excited about water).
–GRAND PRIZE: a classroom tent-camping trip to the Santa Monica Mountains with Nature Bridge + $3,500 class grant + Cal Water prize packs for EVERY student
–2ND PLACE: a class pizza party + $2,500 class grant + Cal Water prize packs for EVERY student
–3RD PLACE: $2,000 class grant + Cal Water prize packs for EVERY student
–4TH PLACE: $1,000 class grant + Cal Water prize packs for EVERY student
–ALL PARTICIPANTS: an official certificate of participation + a teacher certificate + an AMEX gift card for the teacher (this is probably my favorite part because I know so many past teachers of mine & current friends who teach put so much of their own money into their classrooms, it’s really nice to find an opportunity like this that gives back).
To learn more about this challenge, or if you have any questions about it/want to get involved and/or have your children’s class get involved, check out the FAQ section HERE.
This post was done in partnership with Maymedia Group, Cal Water, and NAAEE, but all thoughts, opinions, photographs belong to 2LWithIt.com.