Since September I have been back teaching Brownies with Girl Guides of Canada. I love the enthusiasm they have. They are all such sponges ready to soak up anything I tell them. Well most nights they are, since they are 7 & 8 and some nights we are just silly.
Recently my girls and I talked about Water Conservation. It got me thinking just how much our experiments showed us, and how we all should look at making small changes to create a big impact. I told the girls that the future starts with them, they are the voice that will make the changes. Sure lots of people like me can make changes but the more of us that start younger and share the better. We can hope that by changing the minds of our younger generation we can influence the minds of our older generations. I reminded them of the scene in Pocahontas when Grandmother Willow puts the ripple in the water, how she showed them how one small ripple gets gradually bigger, but that someone had to start the ripple, and that was the 13 girls in front of me. They needed to start making ripples and be heard.
Our main experiment that evening was to simply show how much water we waste brushing out teeth. As a good Brown Owl I brought my toothbrush and a measuring cup. We did the experiment twice, once with the tap on full and once with the tap on slow. I instructed the girls to help me by singing Happy Birthday and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, together they would give me the recommended time I needed to get a proper teeth brushing. This whole time I let the tap run. The girls were unimpressed at first, even when my 8 cup measuring cup over flowed. We figured I used about 10-12 cups of water that time. Big deal right. Tawny Owl and I quickly showed them how much that little bit of water could mean, it could have been a nice pitcher of juice to share, filled a pot for some pasta, and if we added it all up twice a day, for a year, we could have used that much water to fill a swimming pool. Once they heard that they were impressed. Just one person in a year wastes enough water to fill a swimming pool! I bet everyone of those girls wishes she had a pool to swim in during the summer, or has heard No we need to conserve water so no sprinkler today. That is just one person, think of how much water goes down the drain during a year for a family of 4 or more! Freshwater that we drink daily and use without thinking is a limited resource and we are very fortunate to live in a country were we have access to such.
You may think my experiment hasn’t had much impact, I beg to differ. Even on the slow test we learned we wasted about 1 cup of water, that 1 cup still adds up. Combined with your cities population or your countries that is a lot of water! Every day since that experiment I have notice my own daughter not only taking care to keep the taps off, using a cup, all things we practiced to begin with, but she now also hums those 2 tunes while she brushes. If she has just made that small change, how many of those other girls have. How many of them when home to tell their parents what they learned, bossed around a few siblings to be more mindful. How many of you will now find yourself thinking about that water that just goes down the drain.
Small changes, like turning off the tap for 2 minutes while you brush can make a big impact. So can many other things you do if you simply take the time to think of the things you enjoy daily or take for granted and find ways to make small changes. What if rather than start your car, let it warm up, and drive the 5 minutes to your local coffee place, you dressed for the weather and enjoyed a nice walk. I bet that the walk will do more for your spirits than the $2 coffee you buy. Unless you live in the sticks no one is usually more than a few blocks away from a coffee shop. How about walking over to your local grocer and picking up a few things again instead of driving. Rolling your eyes now, stop and think about it, I once walked the 15 minutes to our Superstore to buy the 10KG bag of flour I needed and walked all the way back with it. Why put all those CO2 emissions in the air to pick up one item or 10 small items. If they aren’t too heavy take that time to walk and pick them up. Pick a night of the week to power down and play a board game or read a book. I’m sure we can all remember how to set up solitaire with real cards. We live in an age where everything is so accessible and easy now. That doesn’t mean we have to use it all. All I ask is that you take a look at your life and house, to see if there is not one small thing you can change. You could start a new ripple, and your story of your small thing could inspire others.
Feel free to comment and share the small changes you have made.