I think I was expecting more from this.
I was expecting it to be hard, grueling, time-consuming. But it’s not. I can only make my day-to-day life so inconvenient, you know? No matter what I do, the faucets will be there to refill my gallon jug in the morning. The water that comes out of the tap will be impeccably clean– I won’t have to worry about it killing me.
I was already doing my laundry by hand, what’s cutting down the water usage? The big leap of not using the machine to get my clothes clean has already been made. I’ve already begun rediscovering low-tech and manual alternatives to many conveniences of the western world and integrating them into my life. Is that what messes most people up when they do the 4 Liters challenge?
For me this has been learning on two diametrically opposed fronts (or rather, two sides of the same coin): 1. that I will never be able to replicate the life of someone living in water poverty on the other side of the globe, and that they need real water sovereignty NOW, and 2. still, we here in the affluent West can, and ought to, do so many things to waste less. Humans have an impeccable ability to adapt to doing without. Have you ever heard someone talk about not “knowing” that they were poor growing up, but were happy anyways? We all have that in us.
What would it look like infrastructurally if we were to start finding wasted water as abhorrent as we find animal abuse? What would our kitchens and bathrooms look like in that world? What would our sunscreen be made out of? What would our cars run on?
Getting my fellow Westerners to waste less water has absolutely no bearing on water poverty in developing nations, has no bearing on corporate waste, the waste of big ag, or the enclosing of the water commons around the world by exploitative capitalist scum. But maybe not just raising awareness about the preciousness of water, but calling for the development of a mindful relationship with the water in our lives, the building of a foundation of a praxis, can help to turn our actions outward. And maybe, eventually, we’ll start making demands.