Monday, July 9, 2012

I Should Have Known that Barney was Right all Along... - by Lauren Campbell

The drought that is currently underway in the mid-west and is hitting Indiana hard. The heat wave we are experiencing nationally is compounding the problem. Record highs, as well as record dryness have put a severe strain on local water sources. As bad as this heat is for many people and as horrible as the corn crop is going to be this year, I am somewhat pleased that this drought is occurring. I know that is mean to say, but I don’t mean it in a mean way, nor do my feelings come from a mean place.

I want this to be a learning experience for us.

I hope that this lack of rain and the strain on our water resources help Hoosiers recognize the need to begin preserving water, as well as using it in a more efficient and responsible manner.  The water ban that we are experiencing in the cities is new to me; it is something I have never been a part of before.

Growing up, paying attention to water consumption was prevalent in my home.  We had a well for our home and we regulated our own water intake. Using water in a responsible fashion was taught in different ways, from my step-father timing my sister and I in the shower so that he could inform us how many gallons of water we had just used to Barney, the purple dinosaur, and his famous “Never let the Water Run” song. 

That was my lesson in water as a child, in a nutshell. And to be honest, it hasn’t been until recently that I’ve began thinking about it again.

All growing up and through college I made sure to “Never let the water run,” but I did not think about it much more than that; until I went to China.

Traveling to China was a life changing experience for me; I think it would be for any person. I learned a lot from that trip, and I hope to return to learn more, but one thing I remember extensively, was how water was not in heavy abundance.

When walking the streets in Beijing, one can easily score a cold and sometimes frozen bottle of water for cheap, but to walk into a restaurant and order water with ice is almost unheard of, by which I learned the hard way. And by hard, I mean some odd looks from people, nothing more. This is because water is not just taken from the tap and put into a cup; it must be boiled first, so that one doesn’t get sick.

I also remember the Beijing Zoo, and the lack of water they had. The hippo tank was only half full (I could have said half empty, but I didn’t), the bears had no water, and I vividly remember the elephants without water. This broke my heart. Elephants are my favorite animal and they absolutely love water. It is why they wake every morning, finding water is the only thing they think about all day and finding different watering holes and memorizing the way there for the herd to survive is the matriarch’s life purpose.

Sometimes I wish that we humans had a sense of purpose like that of an elephant; a sense to conserve energy and to protect resources, a sense of what is best for the entire group and not just the individual.

With this drought taking such a huge toll on our water sources, I hope people begin thinking about using water efficiently and start recognizing the need to conserve and protect, not just the water we drink from our tap, but our rivers, our aquifers, and our ground water system; our survival depends on it. 

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