Sustainability

Adaptation to climate change. The crisis of a new era

In recent days, the Italian Society of Environmental Medicine suggested eight rules for wasting less drinking water. Eight rules that address the bad habits we have. Italians, says Sima, consume a daily average of 245 liters of water per person. A number that, read like this, might seem exaggerated, but the practical examples that are presented make it very true: brushing one's teeth while leaving the faucet running consumes 30 liters of water, a shower is worth 50 liters, a bath in the tub 150 liters, washing the car averages another 100.

The suggestions are more or less the same that in these months of emergency due to the absence of rainfall are disseminating public administrations and water supply managers: common sense combined with good habits. Namely, preferring the shower to the bathtub, shortening the washing time and turning off the faucet while soaping up; not leaving the faucet running while brushing teeth, face and hands or while shaving; installing breaker faucets; running the washing machine and dishwasher only when fully loaded; having the toilet flush with a double flush button; and paying attention to the meter and bills to keep an eye on any leaks.

These are all tips that, in truth, should apply at all times, regardless of the drought and severe water crisis that is putting Italy in dire straits this summer and that has prompted the government to decree a state of emergency for some regions (especially in the north and center) until next December 31.

Since this is not an exclusively Italian problem but a global one (read: climate change), it is enough to take a tour among the major international newspapers to understand the urgency of changing our habits. Days ago Riccardo Luna in "la Repubblica" reported that in Germany there is a heated debate opened by a minister who states the need to reduce the average shower time from 11 to 5 minutes. And that "The New York Times" recently opened its front page warning readers about an acceleration toward the apocalypse. And again, that at the final among the best technical college projects, an app was presented that alerts you when you are overdoing it in the shower.

But how was the discussion received in Germany? Luna writes: "Someone was offended: how dare the government tell me how long my shower should be? And in fact there should be no need for the government, we should on our own realize the effects of global warming and the damage of a development model that assumed that resources were abundant, almost infinite. Well, water is not, we see that especially in Italy with the rivers running dry; and neither is the gas to heat it. It is not a matter of not taking showers but of taking shorter ones." Becoming aware that we live in a new era, that of climate change adaptation. And that our comfortable habits must be changed.

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