“If it’s yellow, let it mellow”. I recently saw this implemented at the EcoHome here in Los Angeles while at a USGBC Green Homes Committee meeting. I felt inspired that night to reintroduce this concept back into my life. I remember my father telling me this last time I remember a serious state-wide drought. Now, Governor Schwarnegger has declared us in an emergency state for water and yet I feel for the most part, we still cling onto some sort of strange sense of false-security; we do not take water seriously enough. I feel this way because I don't feel I am as frugal with water as I should be. I know there are people in the world that have a 2.5 gallon allowance for water / day. I cannot even conceive of that. However, I am trying to make my efforts toward water conservation, a big one being an attempt at making overall mindfulness toward water conservation joyful by viewing it as an honor to our Earth and fellow peoples.
So here’s some tips:
Military showers — I was introduced to this concept when I was on a boat for a one week expedition to the Sea of Cortez. Two minute shower only; we were timed. In addition to this, we were pledged we would turn the water off when we were suddsing up, using water only to rinse off. It makes sense …why would we shower any other way? … I guess for psychological therapeutic reasons.
Take a Dr. Bronner bath –We can be even more efficient than a military shower … we can take what my mom used to call a towel bath. If you ever have time, pick yourself up a bottle of Dr. Bronner and read the bottle. There's a lot of writing on the bottles but, if you have a chance, it's rather inspiring and the description of how to give yourself a Dr. Broner/ towel bath seems just as if not more decadent and therapeutic as any shower. The company has excellent distribution so I feel you can purchase Dr. Bronner products, especially the castille soap just about anywhere; Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and of course, your local green stores.
Save your hair –wash your hair less often. Maybe I was the last girl on the planet to abide by this rule, however, I have found that I do not need to wash my hair everyday. It's been a few years actually since I have washed it everyday but I remember thinking people were crazy telling me not only that I didn't have to, but that I shouldn't for the sake of my hair. In all honesty, I believe I made the switch a few years ago mainly to save my hair not to save on water. Your hair will adapt/ at least your attitude about how your hair looks with a day or two in between washings. I feel that hair washing ritual takes as long as shaving can so …wash less often and
New faucet piece –you can buy adapter pieces to your faucet that works like a switch. It allows you to turn on the water in order to heat up it up without having the faucet actually have water run out until you are ready and you can "flip the switch". You can purchase these adapters for $10 at Green and Greener. I also saw a variation for the kitchen sink at All Shades of Green.
Dual Flush toilet –I feel like it should be state mandated law to have these installed … Dual flush toilets allow two separate flush functions. One is for "yellow" and it only flushes with 0.8 gallons of water, the other is for, well, the "other" and that is a 1.6 gallon flush. Amazing. These toilets can be bought most likely from your local green store. The first time I saw one of these (besides Europe) was at Living Green in Culver City. If you're not into the "mellowing" concept … buy a dual flush!
In sink saver –there is a new device that fits most sinks. All Shades of Green now sells this sink gadget. It collects water while you are rinsing off dishes or food like a bucket. It allows us to use the water that typically goes straight down the drain, to water our trees and plants outside or maybe feed into our rainwater catchment system.
Rainwater catchment systems –there are both above and below ground systems. Let's save water and be sustainable. Let's see how much water we can save and monitor how much we use. Sounds good I think this is further off in the future in my life, but I aspire to one day have my own system and play this conservation game with myself.
Food not Lawns — this is actually a national movement with groups all around the country. If we are going to water a yard … why not get some food out of it? Lawns are silly vanity.
Theodore Payne Society –check them out … if you do want to decorate with plants, let's be native. Native plants require much less water. The society is located on a nursery out in Sun Valley where they have over 400 species of native plant life. You can also find information about native plants on their website and just go to your local nursery to purchase once you have some knowledge.
Waterless Car Washing –I have to admit that I have been driving a dirty car around. It seems like the drought is a good excuse to say I am driving a dirty car, though, not really … I just don't have a lot of time. I do feel like we should present ourselves well on occasion. I am over the everyday vanities as I see now what a toll they take on the world when done collectively. So when I do have time, I try to do a Lucky Waterless car wash. First you dust the car off with rags, then you spray on the Lucky product and rub your car out until it shines!
Educate yourself –nothing really works until it "hits home" for you. Read up on the challenges we are facing with water. Watch FLOW … do whatever it takes to inspire you to start finding enjoyment and honor in being mindful and resource conservative.