Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Environmental Round-Up ...

Last night while a cool breeze blew through the open windows of my bedroom, and the moon left soft shadows across the floor and the bed, I got up and walked out to the kitchen to get a drink of water ... As I have done a million times before, and will do a million times again, I turned the tap, let the water run for a moment, then filled a glass with the cold, clear water that gushed forth in abundance ...

I seldom thought about what a gift a simple glass of water can be ... Last night though, as I stood looking out my kitchen window into the moonlit darkness, I thought of a friend who celebrated the move from a tiny small home that had only a cold water tap in the kitchen, to a modern apartment that had hot water on demand.

This friend, we will call him Stanley, lived with his partner in the tiny house for over 50 years ... each week when they needed hot water, they would haul out enormous multi-gallon pots that would be filled with water then heated on the stove. Baths meant repeated filling of the pots and hauling them from the kitchen into the bathroom ...

With a smile, he acknowledged that it is this effort that kept him fit and trim !!! Given he was a dimuinutive yet very hale and hearty 80 year old at the time, it is hard to argue that point ... but when the time came for him to reluctantly leave his little house and move into a small apartment in a modern apartment block, the one thing he looked forward to was hot water available at the turn of a tap ...

Weeks after his relocation, I bumped into Stanley on the street and asked how his move was and if he had settled in ... His answer came in an enormous smile and the whispered confession:

"You know, in my first week I had a shower every morning and a bath every night. AND once in a while I just turn the tap to let the hot water flow ... JUST TO SEE IT ..." he grinned as he added, "it's SO nice not to have the bother of all the pots and the stove ... just turn the tap !! It's like a miracle !!"

I could only offer a heart-felt - "You've earned that privilege my friend!!"

Last night I thought of Stanley and turned the hot water tap "just to see it."

When I returned to my bed and laid there watching the branches of the trees and bushes in my backyard dance in the wind under the waning moon, I thought about what a gift many of the things we take for granted really are, and I began to wonder whether we approach life with an attitude of appreciation and gratitude for the blessings and bounty we enjoy so blithely, or whether we've just come to take ALL these things for granted with nary a thought about our place in the world, and our impact upon it ...

Those thoughts were still rolling around within me this morning when I checked out the news sites and found a number of troubling stories that served as a reminder that perhaps we're NOT doing a very good job of living mindfully and gently upon this planet ...

The first story was that of two mouthed fish being found near the Alberta Tar-sands.

Then came the revelation that plastic is NOT the most numerous item washing up on Canadian shores - cigarette butts are.

And finally came the story from CBC.ca about the City of London banning the sale of bottled water within its facilities ... as I read THIS story, I couldn't help but think of the abundance of water conveniently available within each home and household in Canada ... In the wake of the Walkerton and Battleford tragedies though, and with the encouragement of the multi-national corporations, we've come to believe that our tap water is LESS THAN SAFE, when repeatedly we hear that nothing could be further from the truth.

The recent propensity of people in the West to pay MORE for a litre of water than they do for a litre of gasoline, and to do it without thinking nor complaining, is an absurdity ... The tap water in our cities and towns is safe (with some exceptions), available and INEXPENSIVE, and yet people keep reaching for bottled water that serves to drain aquifers, create mountains of plastic waste, and costs way more than it should ...

Personally, I say - "three cheers for the City of London" maybe other municipalities need to follow suit, and like the "No Smoking" policies that were once unheard of, it only takes a few communities to say "enough" to start a societal revolution ...

This summer we stopped in a community that lacked a "no smoking" by-law, my kids commented on how much the restaurant stunk, and we didn't linger for long ... as we left I commented on how that was normal when I was their age, and they wrinkled their noses and said - "that would have been gross"

They're right ... the world changes by degree, and perhaps the banning of bottled water in communities with a safe, secure and cheap supply of water on tap is the logical and appropriate first step ... hopefully our municipal leaders have the courage to listen to their people, the environment and NOT the multinationals who are interested only in profit !!

One can only hope !!

3 comments:

heartnurse said...

Perhaps we will take the money from the bottles water and make safe water supplies by ensuring that everyone has a septic disposal that is in tune with the times. It is the smaller rural places that are being contaminated.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your comments almost whole-heartedly.. Unfortunately in the area of Minnedosa that we live, the water is horrible. I can't comment as to its' safeness, but it is almost always brown, or a varying shade of. There are constant water main breaks in this area because the town won't pay to put in updated, proper piping, so they just keep fixing it... However, this continues to disrupt the water, appearance and taste. When macaroni or rice is boiled with town water, it turns it a different color--not appealing. We do buy the large 18lt bottles of reverse osmosis water for our water machine and drink and cook only with this water. To try and be more environmentally conscious, we have travel bottles that we fill up from our water machine in lieu of buying bottled water. Ocassionally, we've had to break down and buy a bottled water from the store when we've forgotten to take one, but we keep the bottle and reuse it as many times as we can. We may have an abundant supply of water in this household, unfortunately it isn't a clean or healthy one.
-j

Don Smith said...

Your site is a good read, I throughly enjoyed it. Will be back for some more when time allows.

Nice work.

Don Smith