Meet Jeremy Tormos, founder of JalShare, who is on a mission to innovate ways to help save the planet's most valuable resource...
RYB: Tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to create JalShare?
JT: My name is Jeremy Tormos Espinoza. I know the name is long but being originally French-Nicaraguan I am proud of these roots and make sure both sides of my family are always represented. Having lived in over 8 countries that stretch from the America’s to Europe and Asia, I’ve long realized countries don’t define who I am, but instead cultures do. At 21, with a Bachelor of Arts in Development Studies and Economics from England, I took off to Central America to work in the development sector with NGO’s and schools. During my two years there I discovered a passion for Water. I decided it was time to go back to studying and enroll in a master’s to dig in to the core of this passion.
A personal motivation has always been the staggering number of 800 million people not having access to safe drinking water and 2 billion not having access to improved sanitation.
During my masters degree I gained work experience in research and project management with the public sector in southern France and with the United Nations in Thailand. In 2015, with a Masters in Water Resources Management, I decided it was time to apply all this knowledge and bring innovative solutions to existing Water issues. I was determined to restore the equilibrium between the lack of access to Water in some parts of the World and its excessive use in others. I hence founded the JalShare solution: a movement that inspires people to save water and improve funding for water accessibility projects. I moved to start it in Mexico City early 2016.
RYB: What is the mission behind JalShare?
JT: Water is everyone's. Water has always been and will always be the most vital and most shared resource in all of Earth's history. We chose the name JalShare to inspire this vital sharing culture. ‘Jal’, meaning ‘Water’ in Shuhd Hindi, represents the liquid we all can’t live without, and ‘Share’ teaches us to think about nature and the other people who also have a daily survival need for it.
Today, there is no matter more pressing that the looming Water crisis. Mexico City is one of cities most affected by the Water crisis. It lacks sufficient Water supply to reach its 22 million people. Yet, the average water consumption per person per day is estimated to be around 360l (more than 7 times the amount we actually need!)
JalShare is about restoring the value of Water. Our mission is to raise awareness on Water consumption and inspire actions to reduce it.
RYB: What is unique about JalShare and their efforts in conserving water?
JT: To raise awareness on the issue of over-consumption in Water stressed areas we’ve introduce a reward scheme that takes various forms.
Saving Water App -
Our movement covers saving Water in homes, public establishments and companies. To tackle over-consumption in homes our app focuses on having a positive impact. The JalShare app connects with your Water meter data at home and lets you know how much Water you use. Using your average consumption we also track your Water savings (if you're a good user). Every litre of Water you save is converted into Jal points. These points allow you to access different rewards that are sponsored by our partners (eg. discount to concert, cinema tickets, etc.). The jewel of this app is that you can also choose to donate your points to charities tackling water issues. Finally, the app also allows you to connect with your friends and see how environmentally conscious they are, making the whole experience even more challenging and fun!
‘The Water League’ -
To inspire actions to reduce water use in public buildings and companies we’ve come up with an innovative raising awareness campaign in the form of a contest. We call it ‘La Liga del Agua’ (The Water League). It consists of making a group of establishments (eg. Schools) compete in saving Water. This entails creatively engaging people to be Water efficient, to create solutions together and improve the performance of their own establishment. Solutions can vary from inspiring new graphic material to creative messages, presentations and innovative projects. The involvement of the people determines the strength of the campaign within the establishment. The establishment that best improves their performance wins and can look forward to a Water celebration day, where prizes will be distributed to participants. ‘La Liga de Agua’ is unique in the way it engages people to be aware of how much they consume and guarantees a greater involvement on behalf of everyone.
RYB: How do you see relationship between nature and technology shaping our future?
JT: Modern civilization has awakened to environmental-friendliness and the realization that nature and humankind are not different but One. Before this realization humans created and used technology only for their own benefit. Today, humankind is aware, and slowly but gradually efforts are being made to restore our link with nature by considering it in our systems and by giving back. This is being done at the individual level as well as the people, governmental and corporate level. As our awakening is new, green-technology is still not the norm. Major efforts still need to be made. But, in line with the development of new technology, there needs to be a massive spread of environmental awareness that challenges people’s consciousness and pushes them to change and action. We at JalShare use the cell phone as an awareness instrument, as it has a massive potential of reaching more than half the World population and a key role in this global mission.
RYB: What is one of the most common myths about water conservation?
JT: When I talk about Water conservation with people I often get a statement thrown at me that suggests that the best way to save Water is to stop eating Water-demanding products (with a huge water footprint) such as meat. I can’t argue with the fact that meat’s Water footprint is extremely shocking - 15000 litres of Water are necessary to produce one kilo of bovine meat! However, cutting down your meat consumption may not have a direct effect on your city’s Water supply. One must first understand the concept of a river basin, which is an area of land where all surface water (rain, melting snow, ice, etc.) converges to a single point at a lower elevation where the Water exits the basin to join another body of Water. Every area of land on Earth belongs to a river basin. If the river basin of the city you live in is different from the one that your meat is produced, the Water you save by cutting down on meat is not necessarily benefiting the river basin you live in. If you really want to have a effect on your own river basin, you must be sure that the products you choose to cut down on are produced locally in that river basin.
It’s always important to think of your impact on the environment. With Water we can begin to trace back the flow of the Water drop. If you can be sure that the Water demanding products in your lifestyle are from your local basin, I would encourage you to reduce the amount of these products you use. Simple awareness within your household and community remains one of the most important and accessible actions that we can all take to prevent over use of water. Have conversation, put up reminder notes on your taps and begin to see water as a sacred resource.
RYB: What are 3 ways for everyone to use less water daily:
JT: Aside from the obvious ‘don’t leave the tap running when not using it’...
1. Take cold showers. It reduces your comfort time and get’s you down to essential washing. A trick to with stand the cold – close your eyes and pretend your walking under a waterfall.
2. Save toilet flushes. One way to do this is to recuperate any water you waste unconsciously (eg. catch the first minute or so of cold water you waste in the shower for the Water to get hot), and use it to flush the toilet.
3. Buy less water-demanding products. Do a bit of research on foods, clothes and house hold products, you’ll be surprised how much water it takes to produce certain products.
RYB: How does community play a role in conservation of the planet’s resources?
JT: As stated previously people have to power to encourage incredible shifts in the way our resource-hungry economic system works. Efforts to make the economic system more sustainable must come from within our consumption habits. The economy depends on people’s behaviours and consumption trends. If we resist buying resource-hungry products and switch to green or eco-friendly products, the economy will adjust itself and this new market will expand to take over the traditional one.
Aside from more conscious consumption habits, community also plays a big role in front of government authorities. Demanding better regulations is a hard job for just one protester, but if a whole community rises the message will be heard easier. This again depends immensely on raising awareness and spreading the message that there exists a future where conservation and economic development learn to grow hand-in-hand.
RYB: Dreams for JalShare?
JT: JalShare is much more than an app it’s a movement. This international movement will be the first of its kind and a legacy for Mexico City. We base our development on the velocity of the Water crisis and expect to reach other Water scarce cities (Los Angeles, Sao Paolo, Cape Town, New Delhi, etc.) in the next coming years. Our plan gives everyone on board the opportunity to be part of an incredible story - the tale of an amazing world community that stood up against the Water crisis.
RYB: One incredible fact about water you would like to share!
JT: Aside from all the numbers and amazing facts that I’ve learnt over the years, which you can easily find here: www.treehugger.com
One experiment I would like to share, and that I hope everyone considers the next time they open the faucet (take a shower, use the toilet, and so on) is to imagine the water that is dripping as an actual river coming straight from your backyard. Now as you feel the river on your skin or let the river go down the drain imagine what happens to it in your backyard. The river level goes down. Now, what would happen to it if you left the tap on? The river would go dry.
Where one might think this is an experiment. It isn’t. The Water that comes out when you open the faucet is a river, raindrops, a glacier, lake or aquifer. And if you leave the tap on they will go dry...