Life, Simplified

Fostering environmentally friendly lifestyles.

Water, Water, Everywhere

Water: is it free or something you buy? Where do you get your water? Where does it come from? Thinking about the answers to these questions can be more than just about quenching our thirst. Read More


I am fascinated by your blog, albeit probably not for a reason you would find pleasing. If I'm following your reasoning properly (and I can hardly believe that I am) it seems that you find it problematic that water is generally abundant and accessible free of burden. More appealing to you are the people who live 'off the grid' or even carry water around in a bottle that is refilled so as to increase the burden and thereby create a greater appreciation (i.e., environmental responsibility) for water. This all fits in neatly with the current zeitgeist of growing your own food, or at least "eating local."

These silly ideas are the means for the comparatively wealthy bourgeois of the West to cleanse themselves of their guilt for having been born and for not being a starving peasant in Bangladesh. Of course a starving peasant in Bangladesh would instantly recognize the ideas of Western bourgeois environmentalists as being the idiocies they are and would gladly live in a place with abundant, clean water that comes out of a tap.

Look, I'll give you this: Water should be metered at the point of usage. People would be a lot more thoughtful about fixing leaking valves and leaving the shower running when they're not in it, or filling their pools if they were charged according to usage. But oooh, that sounds kind of corporate, which is probably verboten for a young believer like you.

Environmentalism: “a cloudy mixture of New Age mysticism, Native American folklore and primitive earth worship.”
Congress woman Helen Chenoweth. Science it's not.

In reply to Haxnbauer

I wanted to reply because I appreciate your comment and deconstruction of my post. I also want to clarify that I do not find it problematic that water is abundant and accessible nor I do want to glorify off-grid living as a necessarily better way to live.

In my writing I try and tease out the less thought about aspects of life in order to draw attention to them. Often contrasting "mainstream" lifestyles with something else helps to illuminate differences in ways of living. I could contrast American water usage with people in less developed places but this seems like a lopsided comparison since the distribution and access to resources is extremely different and because of this, I tend to focus on individuals living differently in this country, by choice.

Rather than posting silly ideas or writing to get rid of guilt, I like to think of my posts as a way to think through our common everyday practices and evaluate them from a different perspective. I think everyone should be able to live somewhere that clean water flows from a tap but unfortunately this is not the case, especially in places like Bangladesh. I could write a post on how people in Bangladesh do not have clean water but (and maybe this is short sighted) I think a lot of people in the western world already know this and assume it is not their problem. Additionally, as a person interested in how we can change our lifestyles in order to create a cleaner, better, more just world for everyone, I prefer to use this space to write about how we as individuals can evaluate our own lives to better understand our place in the world (including our use of resources).

All of this is to say that I appreciate your perspective and comment on my post so thanks for reading.

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Laurie Hurson is a Ph.D. student in the environmental psychology program at the City University of New York.


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