Mahatma Gandhi reportedly said that there is enough of everything to satisfy each man’s need. But not enough to satisfy every man’s greed.
So – would you be willing to make a slight change in your habits if it will make a material positive difference in the world?
I was in India recently and thought about this in a specific context.
It is not common to have running hot water in India. Most middle-class families have a ‘geyser’ in the bathrooms to provide hot water for bathing. Some also have one to provide hot water for washing in the kitchen.
Geysers are of different kinds. Some heat water rapidly as it flows around a heating coil. Some have small reservoirs of very hot water.
They do not provide a steady stream of water at a consistent temperature that you can regulate. If you are in a shower the water can cool very rapidly. If you tinker with the thermostat you can easily be burnt by a jet of scalding water.
So, I did what most Indians do. I bathed using a bucket and a mug to pour water over myself. It took me a couple of days to get used to it again and then I quite enjoyed it. Bathing was fast and one four-gallon bucket of hot water was more than adequate.
And then I came back to the US and started talking long showers again. A long shower uses up 20 to 30 gallons of water and I rationalize it by noting that I get lots of creative ideas in the shower.
Now imagine everyone in America bathes using a bucket and a mug. That would reduce hot water consumption for bodily cleansing by at least 75%. You do the math to figure out what this means in terms of savings on heating oil or gas, and the environmental impact.
I will probably not stop taking long showers cold turkey, but I will head in the bucket and mug direction.
And for those who say that what I do as an individual is insignificant, I recommend watching this wonderful two minute video:
Examine your life. What are YOU prepared to do?