Last month, GRACE released a Spanish version of our Water Footprint Calculator and water saving tips. As the first US-focused Spanish language water footprint calculator (that was graciously translated for us by Americas for Conservation + the Arts, the organization behind The Americas Latino Eco-Festival), this is a tremendous opportunity to spread the message about water conservation and efficiency to an audience that often gets ignored in eco-minded efforts. And with 41 million Spanish speakers in this country, it's a large audience indeed.
What Does the Spanish Water Footprint Calculator Do?
A 2015 poll from environmental groups Earth Justice and GreenLatinos found that many Latinos place a high priority on environmental concerns, including water protection and conservation. One of the first steps in helping people build upon this water conservation "ethic" is to help them understand their own water use. The Water Footprint Calculator does that, and regardless of which language it's in, the results are likely to surprise most users.
With questions about indoor and outdoor tap water use, plus dietary, shopping and energy use habits - those places in our lives that use hidden or "virtual" water - the Water Footprint Calculator provides a much greater understanding of how we use water every day.
People who take the calculator are often surprised to find that the water associated with their diet makes up the most significant portion of their water footprint. This is because it takes a lot of water to produce the food we eat. This is especially important considering that so much of our national food supply comes from California and the state is in the midst of an exceptional, multi-year drought. Those who live with drought are told again and again to save, but are often given rather commonplace tips - turn off the faucet, take shorter showers - that don't fully account for their water use or all areas where conservation is possible. Our Water Footprint Calculator now helps even more people figure out even more places to save.
The Importance of Inclusion
Surprisingly, the Earth Justice/GreenLatinos poll found that a full 76 percent of respondents say they've never been contacted by an environmental organization. Considering Latinos make up over 17 percent of the US population, we in the environmental community must do better. It's essential to include everyone from the Latino community - English and Spanish speakers alike - because we all have a role to play when it comes to water. (And if we can pat ourselves on the back just a little bit, the calculator was fortunate enough to be recognized by the White House on World Water Day.)
Latino Environmental Organizations
For more involvement in Latino organizations that tackle environmental issues, here is a short list of groups to check out:
The largest multicultural environmental annual event of its kind, they promote an integrated local and national conservation agenda committed to advancing communities of color's and Latinos' experience of the outdoors.
They bring culture into the outdoor narrative and connect Latino communities and leadership with nature and outdoor experiences.
They are dedicated expressly to helping constructively craft solutions to California's water crisis and ensure that the state's vital water supply needs are met, now and in the future.
They are a strategic partnership of six Latino organizations aligned to protect public lands, including: HECHO, GreenLatinos, Hispanic Federation, Hispanic Access Foundation, La Madre Tierra, and Latino Outdoors.