In trying to raise my own awareness of how many areas of my life my water use reaches, I decided to focus on three of my behaviors in particular; drinking from water bottles, taking long showers, and doing a lot of laundry. Essentially, the root of all of these behaviors is, too word it delicately, a preference for comfort and convenience. To word it bluntly, it’s laziness.
In general, I do not frequently purchase bottled water. However, when I am here at Lafayette, it is just so easy to do so. Every time I go to lower, I can get a bottle of water with my meal. I might not have been planning to get one before I got there, and I may have decided later that I was thirsty and gone to drink out of a water fountain instead. But since our meal plan lets us get a bottle of water as part of the meal equivalency package, I find myself thinking, why not? There is no incentive for me not to; it’s too convenient! Combine this with the fact that the water fountain in my residence hall is two floors below the one that I live on (because that is suuuuch a far distance to walk).
Of taking long showers, I can say that I am extremely guilty. Not that I take hour and a half long showers, but there is no denying that I spend a longer amount of time than necessary taking showers. Especially during this long and cold winter, nothing felt better than to take a long, hot, shower, since it was pretty much the only time of day that I would not be literally freezing.
Lastly, I know that I do my laundry more frequently than perhaps I need to. I do several small loads of laundry a week, rather than one large one at the end of the week. Now I don’t have an enormous wardrobe, and there are certain clothing items, like those for the gym, that I need to be cleaned quickly so that they can be used again. Still, I realize that maybe if I could reduce the amount of loads of laundry I do a week, and have more clothes in each load, I could reduce my water use in that manner.
S.E. Wolfe conducts an analysis of what cognitive functions and behaviors affect how we are able to make water management policies (Wolfe, 2012). He mentions that we like to believe that if we present to each other the hard facts about our water consumption, that we, as rational human beings, should be incentivized to change our behavior. Because this is not true, he seeks to analyze what gets in the way of this.
I have my answer for him; laziness! Which is strange, because humans are capable of doing so much, and we HAVE done so much. You wouldn’t think that it would be this hard to implement these behavior changes.
Wolfe, S.E. “Water Cognition and Affective Cognitive Mapping: Identifying Priority Clusters Within a Canadian Water Efficiency Community.” Water Resources Management. Vol. 26, Issue 10. August 2012. 2991-3004. Web.