This past Sunday at the gym locker room I noticed an older man standing at the mirror applying shaving cream to his mug in preparation for what I presumed was his daily shaving ritual. Fine, no problem....well, yes...P-R-O-B-L-E-M! The sink water was running at full blast! Doesn't he know faucets potentially spew 3 gallons of H20 per minute, California is in a desert, and we're in a drought!
For fear that I would say "what the heck are you doing?", I quickly concluded my business and left. After my first close call in which I seriously thought about getting into some one's face about wasting water, I immediately began a Q&A in my mind. Why did I care so much? When did I become so environmentally-conscious? Further, in an election year with a crumbling economy and a troubled world order, does making the attempt to conserve our resources make any difference?
The answer is absolutely! For me, water conservation is a first step towards a "Green" lifestyle. I understand that my efforts are quite meager and only begin to scratch the tip of the melting iceberg, but we all need to do our part as this affects the world our children and future generations inherit. The environmental policies of our next president in accord with the the rest of humanity at the dawn of the 21st century WILL determine how hospitable Mother Earth will be in a very short period of time.
Even if you don't believe Al Gore and Co. about global warming, why not THINK about the "Three R's" reuse, reduce and recycle? It can't hurt you, and will only make you feel better and give you a sense of pride that YOU are making an effort to help our planet. There is no need to run out and buy a Prius or put solar panels on your roof.
Recycling is the most simple. In fact, in most towns across America, the majority of the recycling of cans, bottles, newspaper, tins, etc. is done for you. Some towns, like mine say to just put everything in the SAME container and they separate the rubbish from the recyclables. Yucky job, but OK. Taking the process a bit further, I've started putting batteries, CFL bulbs, and electronic items (cell phones, etc.) in cardboard boxes for future local recycling events.
As far as reusable items, plastic bags came in very handy during the triplets' early years when we had to dispose of the diapers. Now, I just bring my reusable tote to the grocery store or Costco. When the clerk says "Paper or Plastic" - I just say "No thank you." Of course, so many objects more complex than plastic bags at the end of their useful lives are transformed into very useful items. Playground surfaces are shredded tires. Here is one such website I found that creates artwork, clothing and jewelry from materials that used to be headed to the local landfill www. worldofgood.ebay.com/home.
Reduction is my favorite and the most challenging. Something I absolutely can not stand or tolerate is all those catalogs sent in the mail. What a waste! If I choose to order something from say...Fabulous Furs...I'll go online, shop and order the item. A few months ago someone pointed out an awesome website called www.catalogchoice.org/. For free, this site will contact any/all companies and request that you be removed from their mailing lists. Now, my mailman thanks me and all I receive in the mail is the penny saver, coupons, my magazines, and of course, bills (which by the way can be sent and paid for electronically).
So many more examples. So many more milestones to achieve. One more with respect to water is showering time. I used to take 10-15 minute showers referred to as the "Hour of Shower." I realized that this was on the wasteful side and my initial attempt was quite drastic. I tried the "navy shower" which was explained to me as turning off the water while putting on shampoo and soap. No can do, I was too cold. My next idea was to sing one song and when the song was over, I'd be done. This also didn't work as I'd just repeat the chorus over and over - endless song. Finally, I said why not listen to music. I'd climb into the shower at the beginning of a song and would be done when the song was over. You know this actually worked the very first time!
In concluding, I'd like to hear what you think about conservation, being "Green", etc...Have you had any success stories or perhaps have something you've always done, but just didn't realize that you were helping Mother Earth until just recently? By the way, in the previous paragraph I didn't mention that the song I was listening to was "Stairway to Heaven."