Have you ever heard the cries, “Can we get a pet?” I think as soon as my daughters learned to talk it began. I’m an avid fan of pets and had many as a child, so I knew at some point we would add a furry friend to our family. But not yet. I wanted the family to ease into pet ownership, so a fish seemed like a perfect start. After careful deliberation, we chose a betta fish. They are hardy and beautiful — a winning combination. Since I wanted our new addition to be as eco-friendly as possible, I found a glass fish bowl at a resale shop to ensure I didn’t purchase an unnecessary new product with excess packaging. The girls named our betta fish Suzette and, continuing in our quest for sustainability, we used rocks from their extensive rock collection to decorate the bottom of the tank. The one thing that gave me pause before deciding to get a fish was water conservation. I was trying to find ways for our family to use less water, not more. According to the United Nations, water usage has grown at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century. By 2025, an estimated 1.8 billion people will live in areas overwhelmed by water scarcity, with two-thirds of the world’s population living in water-stressed regions as a result of overuse, growth and climate change. I wanted to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. But, when I discovered I could reuse water from a fish tank for my houseplants, my “yes” vote ultimately gave Suzette a permanent home. Not only was I reusing water to do something I use the water for anyway, but the nutrient-rich water is also good for my plants. So, I devised a tank-cleaning schedule that coincided with the household plant-watering schedule. The pet experiment was successful. The girls loved Suzette and took great care of her, though she went to fish heaven at a tender age of 10 months old. Who knows what our next pet will be. What I do know is that, like with Suzette, I’ll include sustainable thinking in the next pet decision.
Our Eco-Friendly Pet Fish
Water conservation, reused materials and a low carbon footprint — a fish can teach children to be mindful of the environment.