Sunday, January 25, 2009

Change

Things keep changing in my life. Some of the changes I welcome... some I do not... but my life's history leads me to believe that even the undesirable changes end up being good after some time.

But in another vein: some time ago, I was washing my hands in a restroom in the Wilk. As I was rinsing, another guy came up to the sinks to wash his hands. He startled me as he furiously pumped the soap dispenser for his soap. He must have pushed the thing 6 or 8 times. "Sheesh, man... a dab'll do ya," I thought. My mind continued: "I'll bet that he..." and sure enough, he ripped out 4 or 5 paper towels to dry his hands, then chucked them in the trash. That's a little excessive.

Two or three years ago I realized that one paper towel is sufficient to dry one's hands, and I made the switch from my customary two to one. From my casual observation, I think most people take two towels -- there's something satisfying about the roll turning over twice, I guess. Kachunk. Kachunk. Anyway...

People -- Mr. President -- talk about great changes that need to happen to "fix" things. I'm eager for him to try. I feel like he's a good man and has both the clout and the desire to cause change to happen. I just hope he doesn't use the rubber from the back tire to fix the front tire. And I hope he doesn't feed the lazy with the bread of the worker. Sometimes we need to trust that the invisible hand will move things where they need to be. And sometimes we need to move them. I think now needs a little of both without an excess of either.

So back to hand-drying:

What if everyone started drying with one towel instead of two? Kachunk. Our paper towel consumption would be reduced by 50%. And who needs hard numbers? Using half as much stuff is better than using twice as much as half as much stuff. Extend this to water usage: a 10 minute shower uses 33% less water than a 15 minutes shower. A sink filled up half way with shaving water uses 50% less water than a full sink. What if, instead of regulating and redistributing, people were conscientious in their own lives?

You can effect change from the top down or from the outside in... or you can cause change from the bottom up and the inside out.

Just some thoughts. No pic... sorry :)

12 comments:

Megs said...

I take 7 minute showers. Do I still have to do something to make the world a better place? :)

Barbaloot said...

Um---my comment just disappeared.

But anyway, if I don't fill the sink up at all, can I still use two paper towels?

Jenna Kae said...

i have to admit that i am a 2 paper towel user (sometimes 3. yikes.) i want to change from the inside out, so i'll try to one from now on. :)

Matt said...

For what it's worth, my showers are usually 15 minutes... so... yeah...

somebody's mother said...

I take two towels because my hands are still pretty wet after towel number one. But I'm a conservationist in lots of other ways.

I have a tip for you- sign up for daily (or nearly daily) emailed ideas from idealbite.com, a great source for little bite-sized green ideas like your paper towel suggestions. I think you'll like it.

Mandy said...

I dry my hands on my pants...I'm saving the world one dirty pair of pants at a time.

Sydney Vivian Lambson said...

My showers are only 10 minutes! And every since your post I have been trying to use one towel. But also, which is better... hand dryer or towel. Does the amount of CO2 emmitted because of the coal power used to power the hand dryer equal the amount of trees that are lost because of the towel? It make my head spin...

Kel said...

I totally thought about this post when I was drying my hands today at work. Stop getting inside my head Matt! It's no use trying to make me a better person, it won't work :) And Richard says he can't live without two kachunks, he tried it. It doesn't work.

Barbaloot said...

Don't worry Iffy---my date didn't make me sick. The food did. It's just what I get for agreeing to go on the date in the first place.

Jenna Kae said...

i just wanted you to know that i used one paper towel last night at the symphony, and also today at church. and i thought of you both times! is that why you challenged everyone? :)

Mars said...

ask your grandfather about saving TP...

hagna said...

Yeah, ask your grandpa about the thrifty scottsman.