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Change is easy - 2019 World Champion Brooke Donoghue

  • 17 Jun 2020

Water is life. It is essential for all known living thing to grow and survive. Did you know that 97% of the world's water is salt water? That means only 3% of the water on earth is available to meet the needs of people, plants and animals. And of this 3%, only a third is readily available. The rest is frozen solid in glaciers and up on high snowy mountains.

Our dependency on water is huge, which is why it is so important for us to protect and restore our waterways. New Zealand’s lakes and rivers are feeling the pressure of more than 150 years of growing population and land-use changes. A few simple changes to our behaviour can lessen our impact and help to improve our waterways.

Rowing NZ is lucky to be supported by the Waikato River Authority (WRA). The WRA's vision is to improve the Waikato River so it can sustain abundant life and prosperous communities who, in turn, are responsible for restoring and protecting the health and well-being of the river and all it embraces, for generations to come. All water is connected, so these principals need to be applied throughout New Zealand and the world.

So what can we rowers do to make our impact on the environment more sustainable? 

REDUCE the amount of rubbish you make. Think before you make purchases to decide if you actually need something or not, and then look for the most environmentally friendly option.

REUSE and fix things that are broken. We do not need to replace everything that has a minor imperfection.

RECYCLE plastic, paper and compostable items and put them in the correct bins.

Tip: Start a compost bin at your club to take food waste.

REFUSE all single-use plastic. Always have your reusable drink bottle available, and carry other reusable items like a keep-cup, cutlery and a plate so you don't need to accept single-use plastic items when purchasing food on the run.

TIP: Secure your reusable drink bottle in your boat by tying it to your rigger with a bungee cord.

THINK ABOUT WASTE WATER and what you put down sinks and drains. Use chemical-free soaps when washing boats to reduce the toxic load entering and polluting waterways.

TIP: Choose natural cleaning products that are better for your health and the environment.

CLEAN UP any rubbish that you see around you, and inspire those around you to clean up too.

Once you start making change you will be surprised at how easy it is and feel rewarded for doing the right thing.