This post was crafted by our South Bay Manager and Crew Leader Elizabeth Sarmiento. Her life has been an unbroken string of social justice and environmental activism. You can learn more about her work Here.
World Water Day provides us with the opportunity to focus our attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. In 2010, the United Nations recognized “the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights”. However, 2.1 billion of people today are still living without safe drinking water. This happens even in our own country - 70 million people in the USA may be affected by health-based contamination of water, including lead, copper, arsenic, and other contaminants.
At Mariposa Gardening & Design we honor World Water Day year round with the work we do. We do this by harvesting rainwater and replacing lawns with thriving ecological gardens. “U.S. lawn maintenance annually consumes about 800 million gallons of gasoline, $5.2 billion of fossil-fuel derived fertilizers, and $700 million in pesticides. Up to two thirds of the drinking water consumed in municipalities goes to watering lawns.” Roaming Ecologist writes: “no food, no clean water, no wildlife habitat, and no foundation for preserving our once rich natural heritage. In fact, lawns, by acreage, are the nation’s largest irrigated crop, surpassing corn." Because water is a finite resource in all areas of the world, it is important to recognize what we can do locally, especially in our semi arid region of California and by transforming our own yards we can make a big difference.
We all agree that water is precious—so instead of moving it off our properties we can "Slow it, Spread it, Sink it", a basic Permaculture principle that we at Mariposa are proud to practice and incorporate in our projects. We capture storm rain in barrels to water our veggie gardens or trees during summer time and build permeable driveways to recharge the groundwater. Our rain gardens are created with bio-swales, and basins that direct, detain, and filter water to invigorate our soil ecology, enhance our yard's aesthetic, encourage habitat, filter pollutants to keep them out of The Bay, and assist in the relief of over-tasked city storm drains. These practices support the UN's initiative of safe, clean drinking water, and sanitation as a human right.
If you're interested in the work of Mariposa and in working with us to make a difference in honoring World Water Day year round visit us Here. You can learn more about our Water Wise Practices through visiting the blog posts listed below.
Adding Shelter and Water for Pollinators to the GardenSecret Sources of Free Water
Secret Sources of Free Water
Andrea Hurd, founder of Mariposa Gardening & Design.