Friday, August 27, 2010

Bubbles in the Water

Bubble baths are great, but what about when you see bubbles in lakes, rivers, and oceans? I know my kids ask questions about how the bubbles get there. I'm not talking about the bubbles that seem to be generated by waves or the wake of the boat. I mean the ones that look like they just got poured out of your dishwasher.

Here's a picture of Fish Lake - the big white spot is a wave, but those long lines are all bubbles. How did they get there?

The big thing I've learned this summer is that the biggest impact of the water quality isn't the soap, detergent, and shampoo that goes down our household drains. This is good news because I remember once talking to a group of preschoolers about what they could do to help the Earth and one of them interpreted what I said as "Don't ever use soap." That's definitely not what I said, but I see how she could have interpreted it that way!

The biggest impact to our waterways comes from things like the fertilizers and pesticides we use on our lawns, the oil that drips from our cars, and the soap bubbles from washing our cars in our driveway. Of course, we also have to think about the businesses that we're supporting that are also doing those same things - for example, the shiny red apples that get that way because of the sprays used to keep the bugs away. One day the chemicals from those sprays eventually wind up in our waterways.

There are many other reasons to think about the products we use inside our house, but don't forget to look beyond the borders of your house to see how you might be contributing to all those bubbles.

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