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November 2nd, 2009

Envelope Please…

A while back, we promised to keep you posted on the voting results of the Food & Water Watch Water Challenge. After two weeks of voting, the results are in. When asked who you thought deserved to win the challenge, you chose…Alex Patton! Earlier today, Alex was rewarded with his prize for his efforts–a reusable Food & Water Watch water bottle. When informed of his victory, Alex reacted with his typical humor saying, “I think we both learned a lot, and in the end it was probably my cute cat video that put me over the edge. But I’ll take my big win any way I can!” Read the full article…

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October 30th, 2009

Corporate Water Barons Provide a Fright at The Atlantic's Water Summit

When I stopped by The AtlanticWater Summit held at the National Press Club yesterday morning, I got a strange feeling of déja vu. The magazine said it was bringing together ‚leading experts from the public and private sectors in in-depth discussion and debate,” but the summit seemed very similar to the private industry conference I attended early this month in Orlando where water company executives mingled with regulators and talked about their goals.

There was no debate in the Water Summit‚ panel titled “A New Era for Water.” Panelist Laurent Auguste, CEO of Veolia Water North America‚ the largest private water contract operator in the country‚ had free range to tout the supposed success of water privatization. None of his fellow panelists questioned anything, not even when he said that private financing and private sector efficiencies make water infrastructure projects cheaper. Read the full article…

October 27th, 2009

Killing Fields: The Battle to Feed Factory Farms

We have gotten used to cheap meat in Europe, but the full price is being paid across Latin America as vast soya plantations and their chemicals lead to poisonings, violence and human rights abuses.

To make way for soy plantations, thousands of people are being forced from their land and with it, losing their ability to grow their own food. Indigenous people are being evicted and forests are being cleared. Read the full article…

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October 23rd, 2009

FWW Fish Policy Analyst Reports from Bretton Woods: No Public Input in Fishery Management Process

Wow. We already knew that Obama’s adminstration is fast-tracking the privatization of U.S. fish resources at the behest of vested interests. What is now crystal clear is that we have a compromised, dare I say partly privatized, policymaking process to get there.

I have just spent two days in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire at a very fancy mountain resort as an uninvited public participant in a workshop organized by the private Fisheries Leadership and Sustainability Forum. Read the full article…

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October 22nd, 2009

Leave it to Levitt

When I came to work at Food & Water Watch I expected to have to learn quite a bit about drinking water and sewer systems, about watersheds and green infrastructure, but one thing I didn’t expect was having to learn about municipal bonds. But . . .

The former head of the Securities and Exchange Commission under Bill Clinton , Arthur Levitt , published an opinion piece on today that points to concerns with the municipal bond market. He argues that municipals bonds are overpriced. When they ought to be cheaper than corporate bonds, they often aren’t. Read the full article…

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On Seafood Cards: Monterey Bay’s "Super Green" List and Our Own Smart Seafood Guide

If youre interested in sustainable seafood, youve probably already heard that Monterey Bay Aquarium has just released its ‚Super Green” seafood list, recommending the fish that are most likely to be low in contaminants and environmental risk factors.

Food & Water Watch congratulates Monterey Bay on making these great recommendations. As we have a real demand for seafood in the U.S., it‚ crucial that information be available to help consumers make the best possible choices for their health and the environment. Read the full article…

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October 20th, 2009

Nestlé Waters Greenwashing on Youtube: Help us Respond!

Nestlé, the world‚ largest bottled water producer, is at it again–trying to fool the public into buying its overpriced and environmentally harmful product. This time, it has taken its mission to Youtube.

In a series of slick and high-priced two-minute clips, Nestlé attempts to portray bottled water as better than tap water, good for consumers, and take a seat for this one good for the environment. Read the full article…

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October 16th, 2009

How Can You Reduce *Your* Impact?

For the past six weeks, Jon Brown and Alex Patton have taken you along on their adventures in water conservation. From dishpans to showerheads and one very thirsty cat, they’ve highlighted some of the ways that the average consumer can reduce their water footprint without sacrificing much of the comforts of home.

If you haven’t already been playing along, fret not. Food & Water Watch is joining forces with No Impact Man himself for the No Impact Experiment, a “truncated” version of Colin‚ year where participants learn how to “generate as little pollution, plastic, and energy as possible, without paying a cent.” Check out the website for the No Impact Experiment to learn more then visit this link to sign up. Read the full article…

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The Water Challenge Chronicles, Jon, Week 6

Having now been a No or Low impact man for the past 6 weeks, looking back on my experiences I find myself in the same position as Colin Beavan after his one year campaign to reduce his carbon footprint while living in an urban environment. I have made many water saving lifestyle changes some of them have been a real challenge while others were very easy to implement. The challenge now is to take what I have done and continue to watch my water consumption and not go back to my water wasting ways. The trick will be to make the changes I have made habitual, however I have found its really hard for me to commit to creating a new habit even as one as helpful and beneficial as water conservation without an underlying level of unique interest.
I have written about my water journey for the past 6 weeks, and have given little insight to the one thing that really motivates me, technology. I am a true geek at heart and there is nothing that sparks my interest more than the latest gadget or technological advance. This past weekend I went to a carbon free green home which promoted very interesting approaches to saving water in the household. None of which are things that I have yet to try, and all of which were very cool water saving techniques backed by stellar technologies and or gadgetry.
For my last blog post I will review the top household gadgets for water conservation that everyone (not just geeks) should enjoy!
1. Don’t cash dishes with water, when you can wash them with air!
This gadget really caught my eye, finally a way to cut out the use of water while doing dishes. This was one of the coolest things that I have ever seen, although the beta prototype in the house was mostly conceptual its cool to see what might be in the not so distant future. Washing utensils with water might soon be history if industrial designer Hwang Jin Wook‚ invention hits the production lines. In a bid to save water, Hwang has designed a dishwasherthat uses air to clean the utensils and UV rays to sterilize them. Developed for Electrolux, the Wind Washer Dishwasher utilizes a three-stage cleaning process. The process starts with the use of pressurized air to blow away all the leftover food crumbs from the dishes, then the system uses steam to degrease the utensils and finally a UV system is activated which sterilizes them. Apart from being green, the system is compact, which makes it great for individuals who are always on the move. However, with a capacity of just two dishes, the system might not be a favorable choice among party animals.
2. Save water in your shower by using, Shower Start!
It has long been agreed that by taking showers instead of a bath saves water, this is because when you have shower the time taken is probably going to be less than it takes a bath to fill, therefore it stands to reason that less water will be used. Or does it? If like many households your shower takes a short while to warm up, then perhaps before getting into it the shower it is left running for a while in order for it to get the right temperature, so maybe having a shower does not save as much water as we all think. With Shower Start you now do not need to run the water in order for it to warm up, it automatically turns on when the temperature reaches the desired degree point.
3. Make every flush a Perfect Flush.
If you dont have the money to upgrade your toilet cistern every few years, youve probably got a pretty water-inefficient toilet. Replacing the toilet is not a minor job, as a change in tanks might require the need for new tiles or wallpapering. A lot of hassle, expense and not particularly eco-friendly due to the re-decorating it would require. However, there‚ now a way of saving toilet water using your existing tank, by installing a variable flush system, called the Perfect Flush. The device is simple enough to be installed by any DIY enthusiast as it uses existing fixtures and fittings on a toilet to control how much water is used per flush. Just installing the device will save between 30% to 50% of the water needed to flush the toilet, meaning you save money right away!
4. Shorter showers now made possible with Ecosavers Shower Timers.
Shower Timers from EcoSavers® are innovative new products to educate children and adults alike to learn about saving water and energy.
Easy set the minutes and seconds you want to shower and after the set time, the timer will beep as a sign to stop showering. Limit the time you shower and save water and energy, every day time and time again. These products with digital countdown timers and alarm can easily be mounted on the shower wall by the integrated suction cup. This is a great way to visually limit your time in the shower, alternatively you can use any sort of digital timer, these are cool because they come in cool kids shapes like a duck, frog and raindrop so it makes showering fun for children.
5. Drinking water right out of thin air
From so many discoveries, this one may be the most useful the discovery and beneficial for mankind, especially in countries that experienced a water crisis. WaterMill is a tool that will generate clean water (can be drunk directly) from the air. How it works is actually almost the same way natural moisture produce, where the air into the tool will be cooled so moisture (water points), which will be collected and then in the process in the filter so the water clean.
WaterMill can be used both in the home or outside the home. WaterMill can produce clean water as much as +/- 12 liters a day. For the cost-per-liter, as Element Four, the inventor of WaterMill promises that it does not cost more than US$ 0.4 per liter while WaterMill have plan will be sold at around US$ 1,300.
6. Reduce sink waste water with the all in one sink, toilet combo.
Toilets use a lot of water, you know. And it seems kind of strange to have a sink right next to your toilet, pouring all that water down the drain, when your toilet would work just as well with your second-hand sink water as it does with regular clean water. Why not save water by running your sink into your toilet? This Dual Flush toilet takes that idea to the next level by actually putting a ink in the tank of the toilet. So you can brush your teeth while you pee, or wash your hands before flushing to use the same water for both. Sure, it’s kind of an awkward place for a sink, but you want to save the environment, don’t you?
7. Water your plants with help from the sun
While some scientists are working on technology that could make trees text their owners when theyre in need of water, companies such as Aquaterr are working on a more practical and simple technology that can help save water and prevent plants from starving to death. The company has recently launched a new irrigation system that pledges to save water by activating irrigation taps when it‚ needed. The company claims that their system can work with all brands of AC or DC commercial controllers and any size electric valve with a latching solenoid. A transmitter communicates instructions that originate from a controller that can also be your PC. This information is then relayed to the receiver which can be up to 9 km away from the transmitter. The instruction is relayed in the form of a uniquely encoded and redundant signal, which can then activate a maximum of 96 valves. Each receiver is able to control 8 valves and works on a solar panel which continuously recharges a battery powering the receiver system.
8. Control the flow of water with a high tech water meter from Eco Showerdrop.
The Eco Showerdrop is the world‚ first low-cost, universal shower meter. A simple digital display lets you know exactly how much water your shower dispenses through user-friendly graphics. A simple alert tells you when the recommended amount of water has been dispensed. The savings can be substantial in both water and energy. For a family of four that could be over $250 a year saved on water and energy bills, as well as over 40,000 litres of water and two thirds of a ton of carbon! Showering accounts for about one third of the total water used in the home and this is the fastest growing sector of water use. Devices like the Showerdrop shower meter help consumers become more aware of how much water they need to shower. It can help to save water and energy.
9. Give your car a bath without using any water!
Lucky Earth “Waterless” Car Wash makes it possible for you to quickly, easily, and inexpensively clean and detail the whole car, inside and out, and can be used on a wet or dry surface. It dissolves and encapsulates dirt and whisks it away with a microfiber towel. Since no water is needed to wash the car, you will be helping to reduce water consumption, and no pollutants will run off into our streams, rivers, and lakes. Imagine the good we will do for ourselves, our families, and the world! I have not tried this product yet, but it sounds great just another way to save water, another option would be to find a car wash that recycles their water.
10. Use an Atmospheric Water Generator modified for home use!
The EcoloBlue Atmospheric Water Generator. Image supplied by EcoloBlue. Imagine a machine that makes clean water out of the air. It might sound crazy, but it exists, and you can get one for your home. It’s name? The EcoloBlue Atmospheric Water Generator (AWG). To be honest, I was a little skeptical when I got an email about this product, but the more I learned about it, the more interested I grew‚Äîand I’m not the only one. The unit features a stainless steel tank, biodegradable plastics, and a filtration system that produces water that tests better than most purified water systems you can buy. The AWGs work best at 50 percent humidity, so they’re perfect for reducing the effects of those hot, sticky summer days and nights. The down side, of course, is they’re not as effective in the winter months when humidity levels are lower. But the nice thing about these units is they will produce water as long as humidity levels are at 30 percent‚Äîand if they’re not, you can hook it up to a water source so your drinking water is still filtered.
Well I hope you enjoyed my top ten gadget review of course the main thing to remember is that we can all do our part but the biggest abusers of water today are the corporations abusing our water supply. The best way to battle that, and yes it does need to be battled is to partner with a local grassroots non profit organization or engage on your school campus in a water conservation campaign. I hope you all enjoyed reading through the challenge over the past 6 weeks, and I hope that you will continue conserving water along with me for years to come!
– Jon Brown

JonHaving participated in Food & Water Watch’s Water Challenge for six weeks, I find myself in a position similar to that of Colin Beavan after his quest to reduce his carbon footprint while living in an urban environment. I have made many water saving lifestyle changes, some of which have constituted a real challenge, while others were very easy to implement. The challenge now will be to continue to watch my water consumption and not go back to my old water-wasting ways. Read the full article…

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October 15th, 2009

The Water Challenge Chronicles–Alex, Week 6

alexThis is my final week in the water challenge, so after today, I can finally go back to running my faucet for white noise! Just kidding. I actually think Ill keep doing most of the stuff I started doing for the challenge. Not flushing as often really isnt that big of a deal, as long as Im the only one home. Eating less meat hasnt even been a challenge, really. Ive been vegetarian all week, and last night I was at an event where the hosts were serving pizza. I have to admit that the sausage pizza looked good, Read the full article…

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