Making sandwiches all day seems like a peaceful enough job. In the background I can hear many different hums and beeps: the radio, chopping, boiling, refrigeration, customers and so on. None of this bothers me in the slightest. There is one sound that stands out above all else: the ceaseless drip of our kitchen faucets.
Out of curiosity and frustration, I put a large measuring cup under the drip and left it for a half-hour. Then, with much multiplying and division, I came out with this: 7117.5 gallons of water are wasted from that one tap each year. This needs to stop, and I'm going to do it.
Over the course of the last year, in spurts, I've been able to cut most of the pop out of my diet, but not all. Just doing this much has allowed me to lose 30 pounds in the last 6 months. To me, that is pretty amazing. And really, I don't miss it too much. I would, however, like to finish the process and cut it out entirely. I feel so much healthier these days, not downing my daily dose of liquid candy.
On November 19, I posted the following comment on the Boil Water Advisory story thread. Kate encouraged me to repost it as part of my blog, but it's taken me till the day the advisory has been lifted to actually do it.
On commodification of water .. I agree that bottled water should not be encouraged. Think of the energy to produce all those millions of single-use plastic containers and transport them to market. A market that wouldn't exist if we didn't buy into its claims of purity, hipness, convenience, being a healthy alternative to soft drinks, etc. Access to clean water should be a basic human right, not a commodity for sale. Sure, we pay for the convenience of its safe delivery to our homes by way of taxes, as we do for other infrastructure and services for the common good in our society ( the GVRD's Medical Health Officers, for example), but when we can get water out of the tap for free, there is no sensible reason for the existence of a bottled water industry. So we might have to boil our tap water for a couple of weeks. Hopefully this minor inconvenience will make us all think about where our water comes from and how lucky we are to have it. If we don't pay attention, control of this vital natual resource could soon to lost to us.
I will cheerfully admit to feeling a little smug that some months ago, I laid in an emergency supply of drinking water--a total of 16 liters, which at current rates of consumption should keep me in coffee and herbal tea for some time yet.
I took this step as a response to an emergency preparedness workshop at my local library, put on by the City of Vancouver to help residents understand how to prepare for an earthquake or what-have-you. Highly recommended, by the way.
Despite the inconvenience to most and some real problems for some (the elderly, for instance, and the many restaurants and shops that rely on clean fresh water to stay, um, afloat), this isn't a completely bad thing.
Most of the time, it's almost too easy to get safe drinking water in Vancouver: turn on a tap, and it appears. I never really have to think about there it comes from, how it gets here, and what happens to it after we use it.
I used to store clean water in my used milk containers in my closet. I figured that is was a good idea. A roomate noted one day that it rain a lot here so why bother? I was unduely influcenced by that(shame on me).
When i moved from the place i left the water there. Well don't i wish i had it now?? I do have two "empty" milk containers in my kitchen. They were "supposed" to be filled with water. But they are not.
Even after boiling the water now and looking at the mirkiness of it. Things become (for lack of a better word) clear. It may be safe but my eyes say NO. i can't drink that. I can't use that to rinse my food. I can't, I can't.
I need to find what i can do. Here is a link that will help you to make clear water in your kitchen. I can make clear water, even though it is slow and tedious.
I can release my conditioning that tells me that anything but clear water is not drinkable.
I can use this event to show me how much we have and how much we take for granted.
I just learned that this water crisis could go on for two weeks. It sure will be a test to how well we actually adapt to changes when push comes to shove. I was boiling water last night for my household and I didn't even want to give it to the animals, it was brown and, hand on my heart, had twigs in it. I guess when it comes to survival, my squeamishness will have to change.
I also have to come up with an alternative solution for my morning caffeine fix, Starbucks is closed for business, (for all intents and purposes) they are not serving hot drinks. As an emergency stopgap measure today the barista made me a cup of soy milk with the chai syrup in it and I brought it back to the office and warmed it up myself. I'd say I am adapting quite well.
What changes has this water crisis led you to make (voluntary or not)? We'd love to hear from you, so write about them here. And make sure to upload your best Vancouver water crisis photo in your post!