‘Tis the season, so for our Giving Tuesday favorite things list, we’re going to focus on ways to give back to the planet, especially in terms of water-related issues.  We’re assuming, to begin with, that you’re already doing your basics (not over-watering your lawn, eating a virtual water-conscious diet, running full loads of laundry), so the below list includes ways to go above and beyond to respond to California’s water woes.

Since we’re in the holiday giving spirit already, let’s tackle the most obvious way to give: donate to a water-oriented non-profit organization.  Groups like the Mono Lake Committee and the Owens Valley Committee proactively take action to preserve natural spaces along the aqueduct.  If you’d prefer to donate to a group with more national impact, check out Charity: Water, which provides clean and safe water to communities that would otherwise have no access.  And, in true self-promotion fashion, might we also mention that donations to The Longest Straw are tax-deductible

Maybe funds are limited, or maybe you’re a real boots-on-the-street sort of person.  While several of the non-profits listed above work with volunteers, there are plenty of other organizations that are always happy to take your hours and don’t require any special training.  Take Water LA, which gets hands-on block-by-block, converting water-unfriendly landscapes into curb stops, drought-tolerant lawns, and rain gardens to help make Los Angeles a slightly blue-er place.

Perhaps you’re more politically minded.   Several weeks ago, a former White House staffer listed the steps one can take to get the attention of your elected representatives.  Remember: Flint, Michigan still has no drinking water, and every day more laws are being passed that may further impact how we interact with our water going forward.

Finally, educate yourself.  The Longest Straw is all about helping the people of Los Angeles connect with their water by learning where it comes from, but every city, every town, and every home gets its water from somewhere.  When you turn on the tap, do you know how that liquid got there?  If not, no shame – most people don’t know where their water comes from.  But you now have the ability to look it up and find out – so what’s stopping you?

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