Water-friendly giving for a greener season
Do you know how much water goes into producing the food we eat? How about the water that goes into clothes we wear, the gadgets we use, the furniture we lie and sit on, the books we read, the paper we write on, the cosmetics we primp with, the plants we enjoy and the transport we ride in? The surprising answer is, far more water than we’ll ever use directly from the tap at home.
All this ‘hidden’ water has to come from somewhere, which means, in our globalised marketplace, that all our buying decisions affect freshwater supplies and water quality in communities around the world.
So how does this relate to our Christmas giving?
My Dad is notoriously hard to buy for! Say, after racking my brains, I decide to get him a t-shirt from a big High Street shop for Christmas. Phew, I’ve finally made a decision, yet what I didn’t realise was that 2,700 litres of fresh water in three continents went into producing this single, simple cotton t-shirt. That’s my Dad’s t-shirt’s proportion of:
1. the water that irrigated a thirsty cotton crop in China
2. the water used during the weaving and dye process in India
3. the water used in producing the electricity for the sewing and printing machines in Romania
4. the water used in Saudi Arabia to refine the fuel used in transporting the cotton to the weavers, the fabric to the dyers, the dyed fabric to the factory and the finished t-shirt to a hanger in that big shop on a British High Street.
Compare that to the water we use at home, let’s say a very average 150 litres per day. Dad’s t-shirt took the same amount of water to produce as the water most of us use in two-and-a-half weeks’ worth of cooking, bathing, showering, dishwashing, laundering and cleaning!
How to plan more water friendly giving
With our collective Christmas gift spending this year predicted to be somewhere in the region of £14bn (gosh, that’s a lot of t-shirts), buying water-friendly is by far the best choice for our planet.
love this straightforward ethical gifting chart, brought to you by
the excellent online zero waste shop, Just Little Changes:
Can you imagine how different Christmas could be if we decided to choose most of our presents from the top two-thirds of this hierarchy?
Even if that’s a step too far this year, can we agree to avoid generic gift boxes, overpackaged knick knacks and just about anything that says, “I just grabbed this because I have no idea what you actually like” this Christmas?!