Lucinda Dyer, author of Eco-Horsekeeping: Over 100 Budget-Friendly Ways You and Your Horse Can Save the Planet (www.horseandriderbooks.com), reminds us to remember Earth Day—and that one small change in our horsey habits can mean one big change in our planet’s future.
On April 22, we’ll celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day with parades, 10K runs, organic food fairs, and a sea of “Go Green” t-shirts. In the midst of all these eco-festivities, it’s important for those of us in the horse community to take a moment and consider the part we can play in conserving the world’s natural resources.
Let’s take something simple like water, a resource we don’t think twice about using to bathe our horses, hose down the barn driveway, and water our arenas. But the next time you leave the hose running in the wash stall while you chat with a friend, consider these facts:
∙ Almost one billion people (one in eight) have no access to safe water supplies.
∙ More than 3.5 million people die each year from water-related disease; 84 percent are children. Lack of access to clean water and sanitation kills children at a rate equivalent to a jumbo jet crashing every four hours.
∙ An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than a person living in the slums of a developing country uses in an entire day.
So celebrate this Earth Day by making a few easy changes at your barn that can dramatically reduce your use of water:
∙ Fix anything (faucets, toilets, hoses) that drips. A faucet that drips one drop per second will waste a staggering 2,700 gallons a year.
∙ Make sure all hoses have nozzles that let you adjust the spray and a “trigger” that shuts off the flow of water while you’re conditioning tails or soaping up dirty legs.
∙ Before you turn on that hose, ask yourself, “Does my horse really need a bath or will a good grooming do?”
∙ Find a second use for leftover water in buckets—water plants around the barn, soak hay, or control dust in the round pen.
Find out more about the world’s water crisis and what you can do to help at www.water.org, a US-based nonprofit organization committed to providing safe drinking water and sanitation to people in developing countries.