With the northern hemisphere approaching summer, this melancholy video of skateboarders repurposing swimming pools on foreclosed properties, seemed an apt reminder of the perils inherent in "me-too" materialism. Individual household swimming pools are one of those personal luxuries we may chose to rethink, if we care about a transition to more sustainable lifestyles. Do we really all need to have a swimming pool parked in our individual backyards?
By one estimate there are already 360,000 public pools that stay open all year in the US. But that hasn't stopped somwhere between 8.6 million and 10 million US homeowners investing their hard earned money in digging a hole in yard, line it with energy intensive concrete, filling it with water, all just so they can constantly clean and filter it. Swimming might be great exercise?, but so too is bicycling to the nearest public pool, beach, or lake.
Photos still from video by California is a Place
According to the Practical Environmentalist, a "typical uncovered pool in Arizona loses 4 to 6 feet of water a year to evaporation." Another calculation suggests that "an uncovered pool with dimensions of 18 feet x 36 feet can lose around 7,000 gallons of water a year just through evaporation depending on where you live."
This same source, Green Living Tips, believes that "up to 1 in 5 inground swimming pools leak. A small leak in a pool cause the loss of 700 gallons of water per day."
Back in Arizona, it is reported that pool filter pumps "can be the second-biggest electricity user in a home, next to air-conditioners."
Most inground pools, like one being appropriated by the skaters in the video, are made from concrete, made of course with cement. Let's not forget that is widely concluded that cement manufacturing produces about 5% of global CO2 emissions generated by human activity, and 3% of global emissions of all greenhouse gases. If we are going to pour such a carbon intensive material into the ground doesn't it make environmental sense to reserve it for public pools that we can all use?
If you already have a home pool, the aforementioned Practical Environmentalist link has tips on making it as green as possible.
The video entitled Cannonball is a production of California is a Place, and we were lead to it via a mention at Daring Fireball
More Environmental News on Swimming Pools
• French Using Sewage to Heat Their Swimming Pool
• Got Allergies? Your Pool Might Be to Blamer
• Natural Swimming Pools after the TeichMeister System