There is no question that water has been, and still very much is, a big part of my life. I feel like I have a special relationship with water – from the feeling of being immersed in it, pushing beyond its strength as it’s challenged me, to the calm state that allows me to float, relax, and recalibrate my body and mind.
Outside of the pool, I’ve been focusing on water safety for children through the Michael Phelps Foundation. Last year, I took on the role of global ambassadorship for the Save Water initiative started by Colgate, the maker of so many of the products we use every day that require water use – including toothpaste and toothbrushes.
I’ve been to six continents and dozens of countries, and have seen the value of water in everything that everyone on this planet does. It’s shown me first-hand what we’ve all been hearing about for years – water is a precious resource, and it’s one that’s in danger.
Since retiring from competitive swimming, I’ve spent more time with my wife and our two young sons. That’s also helped me realize just how vital water is not only for us now, but also for the next generation. So now that I’m out of the water, I’m working to help preserve it, because I know that every drop counts.
In many parts of the U.S., we can take water’s availability for granted. We turn on the faucet to brush our teeth, and — boom — there’s clean water. But that’s not the case for many people.
For instance, it’s not well-known that you can waste the equivalent of 64 glasses of water if you leave the water running for just two minutes each time you brush your teeth. (I didn’t realize it was that much either!) The good news is that each of us as individuals, families and community members can help play a role in water conservation. And some special people are already doing innovative things to help.
As part of Colgate’s ambassadorship, I helped introduce three online docu-shorts called “Tales of Two Minutes,” that feature inspiring water conservation stories from people in California, Ohio and Arizona. They’ve inspired me, and I hope they inspire you too. You can find them on the ‘Colgate US’ page on YouTube.
I encourage each of us to be more mindful of the unique resource that water is and to consider ways to preserve it. It can begin with an act as simple as turning off the faucet when you brush and telling others to do the same. Together, we can help make a difference today while also impacting future generations. After all, every drop counts.
Michael Phelps, [email protected]