We have been reading and experiencing the effects of the drought in many parts of the country and I’m conscious of my water usage every day. I’m trying to set a good example with everything I do for Sydney but some things are harder than others.
I follow the suggestions of many websites, from indoor water use to outdoor water use, including the over 100 tips on the WaterUseWisely.com website. If you are amongst those people who want to preserve water for yourself and for future generations, there is no shortage of suggestions online and off, including purchasing products that could help you reach your goal.
In our family, we have gone beyond the average person to reduce our water use:
We have removed the decorative plants on our property last year, planted herbs and edibles in our backyard, and planted a mix of native flowers and fruit trees in our front yard. Our water consumption is less than the average household in our neighborhood and I’m proud of that!
We hand wash our dishes, (I can’t even remember when we used the dishwasher last).
I have a large bowl in the kitchen sink for rinsing hands or fruits, and when the bowl gets full I dump the water onto the front yard.
I rinse our coffeepots and teapots outside into our plants.
When it rains, (don’t even remember when that last happened) I put my big trash bins under the roof where I can catch the most water. I also put out big buckets everywhere where water runs down the roof, until we can install gutters and get rain barrels. (I filled out two big trash bins in the past this way and I used the water for my vegetables and fruit trees for a week.)
I hand-water the trees, the vegetables, and our wildflowers late in the evening, so I have control of where the water goes. We also use the Bioswale concept in our front yard, so the water doesn’t run into the street but stays in our soil.
Re-using graywater is on our list of to-dos.
However, doing our best at home and away from home to conserve water never seemed as important as when I saw these before and after pictures of how the drought has changed our landscape. It is quite humbling and very post-apocalyptic. Scary to think what the future holds for our children.
And then I read about how much water is used to raise livestock for consumption and it made me think about a lot of things about why we do what we do as a society. I was quite blown away to find out that my efforts to reduce water don’t even add up to how much water is used to produce just one pound of beef! Did you know it’s almost 1,600 gallons for one pound? That is insane!
Our generation and two generations before us have been living carelessly, without thinking of the consequences of our “happiness.” We grew up believing that it is our right to use our planet’s resources as we wish. And even now, as we are experiencing an environmental “collapse,” there are people out there who think it won’t affect them and still use the water and our resources as they wish, without any change in their daily behavior.
I still get furious when I see people water their grass lawn, or when I see water running down the gutter on our street, even though I now know that that is just a small amount of water that they use. When there is water dripping or spewing in an industrial area or a public space, my blood boils and I question how ignorant some people can be and what I can do to change them, to reverse the effects of our ignorance.
And still my own dilemma continues. While I haven’t eaten beef in ages, I do consume dairy products. I’m not a vegetarian. I love vegetables and grains, but I still eat meat and now this article is on my consciousness.
At home, my husband and I have been discussing going vegetarian for some time but it’s hard to break a lifelong habit. Having a toddler and a new baby on the way makes me rethink our eating habits as well, as I don’t know how I will explain to my kids one day why we eat the meat–and I know the time will come.
While I do my best to consume less water and hope to inspire my neighbors to implement new landscaping ideas, I hope that one day I will learn from them and from my own children to become vegetarian, if I can’t do it now. I also hope you can send me some inspiration, that will make the transition to becoming a vegetarian easier. (I don’t accept any graphic images of animals being mistreated. I want to be inspired, not horrified!)
In the meantime, enjoy this fun video from the folks at Sacred Fools Theatre, who want to inspire all of you to save water.
I’m still writing my “Plan B articles“, so if you have a second career, please email me and I will feature you in one of my upcoming articles. Please put in the subject line: “Actor/Actress with a Plan B”. Tell me your name, what you do, how long you have been doing it, and please include a photo of you (at your Plan B job) and a link to your acting and Plan B website.
Enci is a Mother, Actress, Artist and Activist.
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