the TAO of CHANGE

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Cold Water – refreshingly good sense

by Tao Oliveto, Carrboro, NC

Eco-acting blogger, Green as a Thistle has so far taken 330 eco-steps and is still g[r]o[w]ing and moving towards a complete calendar year of increasing greenness. This recent post announced her willingness to give up hot tap water and use only the first cold water from the tap to wash up – including hands, face and dishes. She’ll be saving water and energy in the process. Namaste to that, Vanessa.

I shudder to remember the days of long ago when I would let the faucet run to warm before washing my hands and face. Being subjected to similar up-North weather, I’m sure I did so at least during those freezing months – I must be repressing the shocking memory. I do know that it’s now plenty comfortable to splash myself with cold for a few seconds before soaping up. In fact, it’s darn refreshing – any time of year.

As for the dishes, If I’m in the mood for warm, I’ll occasionally heat up a teakettle on the stove to add to my bowl or soapy dishwater instead of watching the precious stuff go down the drain until reaching a warm enough temperature.

Keep in mind that studies show it is the “friction” of rubbing the hands (or dishes) that gets rid or germs, not the temperature of the water – or even the type of soap being used. Water would have to be at boiling temps to kill more germs, so it’s past time to give up that fantasy. Washing or showering too often (especially taking hot baths) depletes the skin or natural oils – one of the body’s natural defenses against invading germs.

I admit that showering before the water reaches warm is not a goal I’ve reached – something I consider one of my eco-failures, despite the fact that I collect the excess in a bucket for flushing (anyone else managing it out there??). Fortunately, the water heater to my current shower was installed just behind the bathroom wall – allowing it to run warm in just a few seconds. Hmm, if this was not pre-planned during construction, it should have been!

Be free to choose a sustainable life. Keep perspective. We don’t have to cater to perceived expectations or luxuries. There’s nothing to lose and a lot to gain with every step.

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