I wrote this post this morning — in my head — in the shower, while recalling how this unconventional habit began.
One summer weekend a few years ago, I was faced with a challenge: how could I offer all my house-guests the opportunity to shower during the 3 days they were staying with me?
You see, we were 7 women who would use one bathroom, supplied with one aging 40-gallon hot-water tank. And we were in a July heat-wave. The thermometer indicated 30 degrees in the shade and there was a humidex of 40. We “glowed” even when we limited our movements to raising a glass of lemonade.
My hopeful suggestion was that we each limit our time in the shower, and use a bare (pun intended) minimum of water while there. Simple to suggest, yes, but not easy to expect: we each had pits and bits, and feet and legs to wash and/or shave — preferably daily.
So I included a set of guidelines for us:
- Turn on the water with medium to medium-full pressure and quickly adjust the temperature.
- Get completely wet, including the hair if you wish.
- Turn the water off, or at least right down to a trickle. This works best if you have a pusher to control the volume, so the temperature stays the same.
- Do your thing with the soap, and razor, and shampoo, etc.
- Turn the water on to medium pressure for the rinse.
- Turn the water off.
Well, believe it or not, it worked. And it worked well. In fact, it worked so well that to my surprise and delight, one of my six guests told me last summer that, after her visit here, she had actually adopted the habit at home; she has been following this same routine ever since! Congrats to prichie! And to Ms Necessity, the Mother of Invention.
You’re right: This simple technique is not revolutionary. Whether because of a limitation of water supply, substantial financial savings, or the principle of “waste not, want not,” there are certainly others who do this, or something similar. But for most of us who live in the “civilized world” this is a crazy idea. We believe that we have lots of hot running water here in Canada, so why shouldn’t we use it!
But, for me, this routine is just one very easy, very small step that goes together with the big picture of being consistent and coherent in my choices. I have consciously decided to not squander our resources, and to limit my consumption, and to help our planet by changing my habits. I’m certainly not a perfect environmentalist, but I am working on it. And I’m convinced that, since I know where I want to go, taking one step at a time in that direction will get me there.
In one small way, perhaps this will help to make sure that there is enough for everyone.