Friday, February 22, 2008

Alter ego

My presence in the blogosphere these days is mostly limited to making unhelpful comments on other people's blogs. I have seemingly become everyone's environmental harpy, a role that I do not relish, and the beams in my own eye and practice could build a McMansion. However, and this is where I struggle, I think I actually do have a body of simplicity knowledge that might be helpful to someone, if only I can figure out the right forum. This blog was supposed to provide that to me, but I can't seem to find a voice that isn't pure preachiness. Maybe I need to go with that? Obviously there is a soapbox reformer inside of me who is dying to come out.

Let me begin this new career with a rant that I've been forcing back for months, and that is "how to be a water conservative." Common wisdom in Subarubia and surround is that, in the midst of a severe drought, the best thing to do with water is to make sure it goes as directly as possible back to the river whence it came. Considering that my state has been in considerable trouble over its bogarting of shared resources, this makes a kind of sense. In order to meet obligations to folks downstream, we treat and return the water we use.

Only, a river isn't an aqueduct. Treating it as though it were is an exceedingly short-term solution. In a healthy system, water returns to the ground, which holds it like a sponge and bit by bit releases some of it back to the river, some of it into biomass (a not-inconsiderable reservoir), some of it to evaporation (i.e., rinse and repeat). Holding water in the ground is a buffer against both drought and flooding, which is why paving over massive areas of land increases the dangers of both. Obviously that doesn't mean that the best expenditure of potable water is to water the lawn or the golf course, but it does suggest that recycling graywater toward native plants and trees, or storing and using rainwater, is not "irresponsible," as a letter to the local Big Newspaper suggested. Unfortunately, mine seems to be a minority opinion.

1 comment:

St. Casserole said...

Isn't it a prophetic word to bring people a "new" word? Seems to me that it takes a long time to bring people on board with new ideas. This doesn't make you a harpy. Keep talking.

Clean water? It's our life. Gotta have it.