‘It must be really hard!’
Is what most people say when I explain to them the rules of the 15 litre water challenge. More often than not a question follows, ‘how are you surviving?’
And I say, ‘yeah, fine. It’s actually pretty easy’. Then silence...
I feel a strange sense of guilt that I didn't go into a detailed story about how hard I am finding it, that I am really struggling and I am thinking of quitting. As I think that is what most people expect or want to hear. Not the simplistic, one liner of ‘yeah, it’s actually easy’. Immediately after saying this one liner I wish I had lied, to sound more interesting, or at least to give us something to talk about. Even, if it is so I can fit into the popular narrative that climate change is inevitable and we, as individuals can’t do anything to stop it so we might as well just chill.
Instead of explaining my struggles, I find myself exclaiming ‘I love water’. I talk about how I feel connected to it, to this element that literally keeps us alive. That before I was, careless and ignorant about it’e existence and importance. I took it for granted and now, I take care of it because I understand more completely how it takes care of me. We would all die if we didn’t have water. Remember that little sciencey fact? I had forgotten it.
Actually, it’s exciting that I am not struggling. That I am surviving. In fact its a surprise. When I first agreed to do the challenge, I was extremely nervous I thought it would be horrible and I would fail for sure. But thinking about it now, the most struggle I have faced, so far, is what to do when I need a pooh in a public place. Not so bad in the grand scheme of things. I thought, I was going to be thirsty all the time, smell like hell and not be able to socialise much. Well, I have learnt, one I didn’t and still don't drink enough water, two my natural smell isn’t that bad and three, I not as social as I thought I was. Three other things that occurred to me are that, I feel more aware of the weather, the planet and weirdly my body.
So, I do struggle and it is hard. But the hard bit isn’t changing my water usage. The pressure to talk about it, tweet and write blogs about it, that, for me is the hard bit. I get paranoid that I cansound or come across as preachy or righteous. When actually the purpose, of this challenge is not to accuse anyone else of not doing enough or to make them feel guilty about climate change. But to empower myself and change my own negative habits. And if that opens up the possibility for others to explore their own relationship with water, then great.
This relatively small and simple task I have accepted to do has given me the strength and insight into how easy it can be to change behaviour and build awareness.
How do I not sound preachy, but still manage to capture peoples imaginations ? That is what I am struggling with and finding hard