The National Retail Federation estimates Americans will spend $465 billion on holiday giving this year. With any luck, a portion of that will be spent buying water conservation gifts.
Water conservation is more often thought of as a thing that we do rather than a thing that we give, but this holiday season it can be both. This year, giving gifts that can save water and money may be more welcome than ever.
There are endless ways to engage in a water-conscious lifestyle, and these five gift ideas can be a great start for making a positive contribution in the fight against the global water crisis.
1. Home Water Filter (Brita, PUR, etc.)
This gift is for anyone who stocks bottled water in the home. Aside from the environmental cost attributed to empty plastic bottles that end up in landfills, the water that comes out of those bottles also has a cost attached to it.
The Natural Resources Defense Council has done exhaustive research to reveal that bottled water is little more than an exercise in the marketing of purity when, in fact, there are no discernible differences between it and tap water, and no difference at all between it and filtered water.
Yet, bottled water takes even more water resources to produce. People can get it more cheaply and at a lower environmental cost right at home, and this year is as good as any to start saving.
2. Filtered Water Bottle
Many people who swear by drinking bottled water say it’s because it is convenient and easy to take on the road. If this sounds familiar, maybe you know someone who could use a filtered water bottle.
These bottles have self-contained filtration systems, yet remain light and as easy to carry as a regular bottle of water. There are several different varieties from which to choose and they are very economically priced. They are also durable, have long-lasting (and replaceable) filters and are great for the office or event-setting that relies on bottled water.
3. Water Charity Donation
The global water crisis has not gone unnoticed and many non-profit organizations have emerged to help address the problem. These charities conduct research, provide outreach and networking to natural resources professionals and even establish coalitions in areas that suffer from severe water shortages to help educate communities and build infrastructure that supports water sustainability.
All of these functions come at a cost, but people can help during the holidays by making a donation in the name of a loved one, or even buying a product from a water-conscious organization so that the proceeds go to helping those who need water.
One idea is to send a gift that supports the furtherance of “water credit” – micro-financing that helps villages build their own water infrastructure. It truly is the gift that keeps on giving.
4. Toilet-Tank Bank
The toilet is one of the biggest water wasters among household fixtures that use water. New, more conservative designs are becoming more popular, but buying a new toilet is expensive and ultimately unnecessary for the purpose of saving water.
The toilet-tank bank, or similar device, is a great inexpensive stocking stuffer that can help save a whole lot of water. The gadget is used to displace water in the back of a toilet so less is used during each flush. Of course, it’s also possible to just use an old milk jug, but that wouldn’t look as nice hanging under the mantle!
Sometimes, the most transformative gift is knowledge. There are numerous books available that explore the varying facets of the global water crisis, many of which are more than just a list of statistics and biased opinions.
Water Consciousness: How We All Have to Change to Protect Our Most Critical Resource and Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water are just two recent releases that provide an unflinching look at the severity of global water shortages.
Saving water is a gift that rewards everyone no matter what the season, and inspiring others to do the same can make a real difference now and for the future.
James Madeiros writes for Seametrics, a manufacturer of water flow meters that helps municipalities, farmers, and manufacturers to measure and conserve water resources.
Globe & water via shutterstock