As a huge fan of What You Can Do, when Jessica asked me to be a guest blogger, I was thrilled.
The great perspective on taking small steps to make a big difference is one of my biggest inspirations for my own green humor blog - The Green, The Bad and The Ugly. GBU is about going green and staying green, encouraging the good and outing the bad, while keeping a sense of humor.
What You Can Do's water conservation challenge got me thinking about my own water-based trials and tribulations . . . and What I Can Do about them.
I remember this short film from an episode of Sesame Street. It was a split screen. Each side showed a faucet with a bowl underneath it and a boy ready to brush his teeth.
On the left, the boy turned the water on, wet his toothbrush, turned the water off and began brushing, only turning the water back on to rinse.
On the right, the boy brushed away while the water ran.
The camera then panned over to the first kid's bowl. There was barely any water in it.
On the right, the bowl was overflowing.
But lately, I've had to question whether I was on the left or the right.
I was conscientious of my water usage, but what did it matter if I gave one more swoosh of the toothbrush in my mouth before I turned the water off?
Apparently, it does matter.
As it becomes clearer that so many of the earth's resources, like fresh water, are finite, it is important to take steps now to preserve what we do have so as not to leave our grandchildren with a crisis.
These days, I'm very careful about how long I let the water run. I bought a 5-minute timer for my shower and I soap up all my dishes before I turn the water on to rinse. If my kitchen were bigger than a walk-in closet, I would probably invest in an energy efficient dishwasher (only running it when it's full, of course).
So you can imagine how it drives me crazy to see store owners and apartment building workers hose down the sidewalks...especially when it's about to rain.
And I have a physical reaction when I see women in the restrooms let the water run while they dry their hands. Most notably...Miss Niagra Falls.
She works on our floor. Everyone knows her. Even the non-greenies in my office will come back from an encounter with her in the bathroom and roll their eyes in disgust.
The other morning I was in the bathroom and I heard the water turn on. I knew it was her. I could tell by the angry way the water was pouring out. Forceful. Hot. I emerged from the stall and there she was...standing there, looking at herself in the mirror, drying her hands, slowly...carefully...water running.
I went to the sink and washed my own hands. I tried to control myself. I really did. But it was too much for me to handle. She might as well have been running her fingers down an aquatic chalk board.
I contemplated the repercussions of saying something.
But instead, I turned my faucet off, walked over to her sink and shut off the water. As she stared at me half in shock, half pissed off, I threw my towel away and quickly exited.
I felt shaky as I left and went out of my way to avoid that bathroom for a few days. But I soon decided to face her again. Now when I see her, she's cautious but friendly and she usually waits for me to leave before turning the faucet on.
Maybe I made my point.
Now I'm thinking of going up to one of those shop owners or apartment guys and asking them to turn off their hoses.
Or maybe I'll just do it for them.