Yeah, that’s right, the last shower I took was on April 20th, 2013, exactly 6 months ago. Why have I done something crazy like this? Well, the answer is simple: to conserve water. At first I thought it would be quite the challenge, but I learned quickly that I do not need water to pour out from a shower-head above me in order to stay clean. Water is naturally available all over and it cleans me just as well from a trickling creek, a rushing river, a placid lake, a pounding ocean wave, or dripping from the sky.
I realize that I probably mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. The human species is just a speck of dust on the earth’s timeline. What’s more, the earth is just a speck of dust in what we can see of an infinite space and time. Each one of our existences is just as minuscule as a drop of water in the ocean.
I have not missed you over the last 4 months because I’ve been living in the present. I haven’t yearned for you because I’ve been swimming in beautiful rivers and lakes all over the United States. I haven’t thought too much about you because I’ve been out riding my bike all over the country. I haven’t needed you because I am at home anywhere and everywhere I go. I’ve been too busy waking the United States of America up to think about you.
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 America, 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 the United States 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 the United States 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.