by Reed Evans –
There have been a couple of articles in TowerTalk recently about our relatively high use of water compared with other nearby condos. We know there are plenty of ways each and every one of us who lives here can conserve the water he or she uses daily.
This is harder than its sounds, especially when it’s perceived as less convenient, difficult, and different from what we learned as kids or see people around us do. Even if we really care, know what to do, benefit personally and know it will benefit others .. even then, it is hard to change behavior.
I know for myself how hard it can be. When I was a kid, I used to take incredibly lengthy showers, sometimes as long as 20 minutes. And the urge continues even today!
Why is that? Well, the way our brains work doesn’t help much. According to Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, there is a “habit loop” which drives the brain quickly – perhaps too quickly – into a routine that defies subsequent efforts to dislodge it.
Further evidence comes by way of an exhaustive report by the Water Research Foundation (www.waterrf.org/publicreportlibrary/4012.pdf). The takeaway here is that just being exposed to messages about the importance of water efficiency won’t necessarily result in behavioral change. Even if a person wants to reduce water consumption, he or she will have to work very deliberately to disrupt formed habits and create new ones.
Here is one approach to water conservation for those who feel it is both practical and a moral imperative. Sit down with the members of your household to address the following questions.
Now, just do it! Make these water-saving discoveries into your new ways of doing things. That will be quite an accomplishment, to have actually changed long-standing habits!
Reed Evans resides at Park Tower. She is a sustainability consultant and founder of Scale it Up! Sustainability Training for Women Entrepreneurs, a nonprofit program helping women entrepreneurs build triple bottom-line businesses.
See the story, Update on Water, also in this issue. Google “household water conservation” and you will find many useful resources. One of them, www.eartheasy.com/live_water_saving.htm, lists 25 specific ways to save water. Expect more stories on water savings and do email email@example.com with stories of your own success and suggestions others may not have thought of.