We live in an interesting time, an exciting time. We live in an era where we just may witness the survival or the extinction of the human race. We are destroying the natural world much faster than it can heal itself. We are aware of our destruction, but most humans are just too lazy to do what needs to be done. Most of us are too lazy to think past our own little lives. Billions of humans deny or completely avoid the fact that they are destroying the environment. Maybe that’s a way of self protection, a way to feel okay about their lives. Maybe it’s feeling helpless and hopeless, like their actions don’t count.
Start living beyond yourself. Start living a life of health and happiness for the earth, your community, humankind, and you.
United States of Ameica, there was a time when it could be all about us. There was a time when we didn’t have to worry about what was going on in the other countries around the world. That time is over. That time is long gone. The reason? We have created so many problems around the world in so many countries that we have a responsibility to fix those problems.
I crossed America by bicycle using only 160 gallons of water and almost every last drop came from natural sources or water that was going to waste. That is less than 2 gallons per day. Actually, that is an understatement. 3,000 miles would have gotten me across the country, but I rode 4,700 miles on 160 gallons of water. I crossed America without turning on a faucet on the grid, without taking a shower, without washing my clothes in a washing machine, without using a toilet, and without washing my hands in a sink. I practiced water conservation to the extreme for the first 4,100 miles until I arrived in NYC and at that point, since I had officially crossed the country, I lightened up a bit, but just a little bit (as in I started to use the occasional toilet and a turned on a few faucets).
Here’s the story of my water usage.
07/21 (Day 93) Drip by Drip day 5
At no point today did I know where my next drip, sip, or gulp of water was going to come from. My tongue searched the desertous terrain around it hoping it would find water. I knew I was controlling that tongue and that it would find no moisture but it seemed to have a mind of its own, searching every corner of my mouth for a drop of water. As I rode along my eyes constantly scanned my surroundings for potable water. I felt like a hawk soaring through the sky searching out prey only my eyes were scanning for half full water bottles on the side of the road, drips from spigots on the side of houses, and any sign of leaking water.
Ponder this for a moment….
Ever eaten a little bag of chips or drank a bottle of soda? If so how long did it take you to eat it?
I’d finish one off in about five minutes. Five enjoyable minutes that is. But besides that what did I really get out of it? There really isn’t much nutrition in either of them. They are both really expensive on a per weight basis. They are very processed. I amsatisfied for a bit but nothing comes long term from this transaction with food compared to eating something healthy that gives my body vital nutrients and creates good energy for me to use.
For five days I lived solely off water from a leaky fire hydrant in Brooklyn.
I drank it.
I showered in it.
I did my laundry in it.
I brushed my teeth with it.
07/11 (Day 83)
As I stood outside in the dark peeing on a bush I tried to remember what happened today but I just couldn’t. It took me a lot of pondering to remember if I went outside much or if I went anywhere at all. I couldn’t remember if yesterday was today or where I woke up this morning. I slowly pieced it together and realized I didn’t leave the house for more than a few minutes at a time. When I woke up I turned on the computer while still on the couch and the morning continued in that fashion. I spent nearly the entire day writing, emailing, and facebooking. I did go outside to pee on the same bush a half dozen times and each time I stretched out my body a bit. I also walked a few blocks to fill up my water jugs at the leaky fire hydrant. I was plenty hydrated but I didn’t eat much at all leaving myself somewhat delirious. I wouldn’t call it a lazy day because of the amount I accomplished and the fact that I barely took a second to be unproductive. It’s a very different kind of productivity from the last 82 days though. Many times I intended to put my computer away but each time I found myself still on it hours later.
Here are some insights into my mind on Day 83 of living a minimal impact lifestyle…
June 25-28 (Days 67-70)
Close your eyes and imagine the picture perfect organic dairy farm. If you drink milk or eat cheese imagine where you’d like it to be coming from. Go on, take a moment, and close your eyes.
Now open them. What did you see?
You may not look at life the same after reading this. You may decide to lead a simpler lifestyle. You may put less of a priority on money. You may realize that humans are not the only important creatures that walk the planet. You may begin the transition into living freely. You might start living the life you want to. But beware; there may not be any going back to the easy conveniences you take comfort in now.