Lessons from 5 Years of Drought

Health Wellness Drought DesertI live in California. Everywhere the weather patterns are changing. We are going into our 5th year of severe drought.

Now I turn off the water in the shower as I wash my hair or lather up. I keep a bucket in the shower to collect water to give to my thirsty plants. I turn off the water while I brush my teeth. I only flush the toilet when necessary.

I take the water I use to rinse out my blender after making my smoothie and take it to my garden. Instead of hosing down our patio and driveway, we sweep.

I have nine irrigation zones on my property. I used to water 3 times each week. I have been watering just once or twice weekly at most, and late in the day near sundown to decrease evaporation.

My hillside is dry. The trees are stressed. Thank goodness I have planted more and more drought tolerant plants over the years and mostly succulents…a desert landscape.

There is a constant awareness of the preciousness of each drop and the ever present danger of fire in this parched landscape. Fire season was just a few months each year when I was a kid. Now it is all year long.

In spite of the stress of the land and Mother Earth and the vigilance required to respond, somehow it makes me feel more connected. I feel I am doing my part to participate in cutting our water use by 36% (as our water agency requires, lest we pay hefty fines).

In the same way that the manner in which we care for our bodies in this challenging environment turns us either toward health or away from it, so too the health of our planet and our environment are deeply impacted by our choices.  

It is all one continuum of nature. We are part of a bio-system. As humans, we are the only species that destroys the environment that sustains our own life and well being.

I am reminded of the wisdom of Chief Seattle:

Man does not weave this web of life. He is merely a strand of it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself. All things are bound together. All things connect.

Take only memories. Leave only footprints.