The Green Guide: Conserving Water is Imperative for Our Oasis

There is no denying it: we live in a big desert.Stand in the middle of Marston Quad or the Scripps campus one morning, and what do you see? A sweeping landscape of crisp, emerald blades of grass? Flowers, bushes, and sparkling fountains? Rows of orange trees whose fruits are sweetened by the Southern California sunshine? Or do you see the gallons upon gallons of water that have been pumped countless miles through dams and canals just to be sloshed across our precious lawns in order to complete the East Coast illusion?Despite how hard the 5Cs—though of course Pitzer is somewhat exempt—have tried to put up facades of New England, a quick two-hour drive eastward on the I-10 will reveal what the landscape looked like before Claremont, along with many of L.A.’s vast suburbs which also sprouted out of the dry ground. Actually, you don’t even need to drive to Joshua Tree to get an idea of Southern California’s desert landscape; stroll on over to Pitzer and admire their array of giant cacti.That reality seems reason enough for each and every one of us to save water. Conserving water in an arid climate seems as obvious as putting on multiple layers in a New England winter or cleaning out storm drains before monsoon season. But if you need a bit more convincing, how about some personal reasons to cut back your water use?Doing laundry only when you have a full load not only saves 45 gallons per load, it also saves you money. Last year, it cost Pomona students only 75 cents to wash one load and 25 cents to dry it. This year, however, washing and drying the same load costs $1.50. That is an expensive 50 percent increase!Keeping your showers to 10 minutes keeps you naturally beautiful and looking youthful. According to dermatologists, showers lasting longer than 10 to 15 minutes greatly deplete the skin’s natural essential oils, exposing your skin to dryness and quicker aging. A daily 20-minute shower combined with the blazing California sun is a great formula to make your skin look 40 by the time you graduate if you are going for that “mature” look. Also, using warm water instead of hot water protects your essential oils while saving energy used to heat water. Double whammy for the win!Turning off the water while you scrub soap all over your beautiful body is also a good idea because you can actually make sure you have soaped everywhere and that the foam stays on long enough to clean you. Some may complain that it gets cold to turn off the shower, but the cycle of alternating hot and cold is in fact a milder form of a hydrotherapy technique used in naturopathic medicine that improves your circulation, boosts the immune system, and aids toxin removal daily.Conserving resources paid for by the colleges means that in these economically troubling times, the institutions can save money on what comes out of our faucets and spend that on, say, bringing Girl Talk to the 5Cs. Bothered by streams of water trickling down the sidewalk from burst pipes or maniacal sprinklers? Let the grounds or sustainability office at your school know right away, and you can be a hero for the night.For the truly daring and those who are capable of emancipating themselves from society’s antiquated attitude toward bathroom habits, you can work out a “If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down” system with your hall-mates or suite-mates.Lastly, though this may seem like quite a stretch at first, conserving water here in Claremont is in the best interest of adventurous spring breakers who imagine a week of mayhem and relaxation south of the border. Many regions of Mexico rely heavily on rivers that flow from the United States into the Gulf of California, especially the areas immediately across the border. Within recent years, barely any water trickles past the border at all, with rising demands for water in the American Southwest and a dwindling natural supply. This may very well lead to a drying up of tourist towns in Mexico, as fresh, potable water becomes scarce and expensive.Of course, all these reasons are appeals to everyone’s inner-selfishness; the moral, environmental, and over-arching economic reasons to conserve water are much more abundant and compelling. For Pomona students, keep your eyes open this month for interesting table tents and flyers displaying some shocking data about water usage. November is also Pomona’s “Every Drop Counts” water conservation month.Take a brief moment to pledge a conscious effort at reducing water use at

, and you just might win a gift card to 21 Choices or Yogurtland in the Sustainability Integration Office’s weekly raffle!As riverbanks continue to crack and sizzle under the sun, as the Sahara Desert creeps closer to human civilization every year, and as tensions rise between groups warring for water, there is no better time than the present to start appreciating what flows out of our faucets for what it is worth: liquid life that is essential for us to survive.

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