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Water articles are written by ADB staff and external contributors on various water issues, reforms, and good practices.
Call for Consuming Less Water during ADB’s No Impact Week
By Theresa Audrey Esteban ADB Water Resources Officer Six-year old Ruth Hilton shares her big ideas on how ADB and its staff can help conserve water during ADB’s No Impact Week. THE VOICE OF THE FUTURE If everyone in the world took water conservation seriously and each made small steps to reduce the amount of water they consume daily, imagine how small the global water footprint of human activities would be. A “water footprint” is a measurement of how much water someone uses in a given time. By understanding our own consumption patterns, including how much water it takes to produce our food, clothes, gadgets, and other consumer goods, we can become more mindful about our lifestyle choices. We become aware of our individual impact on the earth’s water resources. Ruth Hilton, or Ruthie as she is fondly called, has these four great ideas to reduce our water footprint: 1. You shouldn’t keep water all to yourself. 2. ADB should make sure that rich people only get what they need and help poor people so that they have enough for what they need. 3. Make sure poor people have clean water. 4. Make sure rich people don't waste water that they don’t need. Ruthie, a second grader at the British School Manila, delivered her short speech at the closing ceremony of ADB’s “No Impact Week,” which ran from 14 to 18 January 2012. The daughter of ADB Social Development Specialist Lainie Thomas, Ruthie was among eight children who shared their insights on how to conserve water, energy, and other natural resources. NO IMPACT WEEK AT ADB ADB was inspired to create “No Impact Week” by the No Impact Project an international, environmental, nonprofit project founded in 2009 (noimpactproject.org). ADB’s No Impact Week was designed as a social experiment that aimed to highlight ADB staff their impact on the environment and to promote ways that all staff can help minimize those impacts. Each day of the week was given over to a specific sector or theme: Monday, 14 January - Trash: Stop making trash Tuesday, 15 January - Transport: Switch to more sustainable transport Wednesday, 16 January - Food: Eat local, eat less meat Thursday, 17 January - Energy: Conserve energy Friday, 18 January - Water: Consume less water For five days, ADB employees were encouraged to try out sustainable alternatives for transportation, food, energy, and water and to share their conservation ideas and experiences with one another. Ruthie’s mother, Lainie, committed to lower her impact by walking to work every day. Lainie said, “I love walking to ADB. My house is just 5 minutes by car if there is no traffic, but with traffic it can take up to 30 minutes. Since I started walking to work, I never have to worry if there is a sale at the nearby malls, if it's a payday Friday, or some other mysterious disruption to Manila traffic patterns.” Some ADB employees gave up meat and coffee, in favor of vegetables and other food that consumes less water to produce. One person offered to use a bucket and the local plastic dipper in taking baths, instead of running water, and other simple ways that would lessen environmental impact. Others, like Lainie, walked, took public transportation, rode bicycles, or carpooled to the office to save on gas. “It also means that I get some exercise every day. Although it can be very hot and isn't that much fun when it's raining, I've started meeting several of the other pedestrians and we’ve built a real sense of camaraderie along the route,” Lainie added. REDUCING WATER FOOTPRINT The last day of No Impact Week, Friday 18 January, was designated as Water Day, with the day’s activities examining ADB’s water footprint and featured activities aimed to encourage reducing water use and consumption. A water bottle installation art was constructed to capture our attention on some key facts about bottled water. Consisting of 45 kilograms of plastic bottles, it represented almost a month’s worth of plastic waste still generated from drinking water—something of an eye-opener for staff and guests to No-Impact week. Other initiatives included water footprint calculator stations, a game show on water footprints, and a presentation on do-it-yourself rainwater harvesting for households. At the close of No Impact Week, ADB staff listened to children, including Ruthie, as they voiced their visions for a greener future. It was a useful reminder for us all that it is our responsibility to our children to give them a future that they deserve. RELATED LINKS Water for All ADB No Impact Week No Impact Project