Loving Large, Living Small: In the Flow

By Linda Hunter –

I love water, and I mean LOVE it. I live near the ocean and I love to swim and kayak. Water is always my beverage of choice. My happy place is the bathtub, and I find waterfalls magical. My choice of charity is one that is dedicated to bringing fresh water to the world.

I am one of the lucky ones: water has always been available and accessible to me, clean and abundant. In these changing and uncertain times, however, I now find myself more and more concerned about this precious shared resource. I am worried about the water I love. In a conversation about conservation some years back, my brother warned me that future wars would not be over oil, they would be over water. He was not far wrong. According to architect Jason McLennan, a prominent figure in the green building movement, the “risks of water-related violence and conflict is growing.” Cape Town is now famous for its monumental water shortage and according to National Geographic: “14 of the world’s 20 mega cities are currently experiencing water scarcity or drought conditions.”

As we pour another glass of fresh cold water, it’s unimaginable that 663 million people in the world are currently living without clean water, or one in 10 worldwide, according to www.charitywater.org. And, with predictions placing global demand for water at 40% beyond available supply by 2030 (a mere 11 years from now) it is incumbent upon us all to do what we can. For our family, as we finetune our planning, we feel the weight of responsibility not only for the physical house that we are building but for the systems that will support living in that new home for years to come. How we access and manage our water consumption and the steps we take now to conserve, could make a real difference. For someone like me, who loves a good long soak, choosing not to include a bathtub in our new home in Shirley was a big decision. Our efforts now include more efficient habits around water while planning future changes that will have an even greater impact. In our existing home, I take three-minute showers, forego watering the front lawn, and we grow food in our backyard instead of grass. In our new home we are working closely with nature, and making plans to incorporate Rain Water Systems to see how much we can harvest of what is already being offered; we are learning to embrace the rain. We are studying Greywater practices that may become viable options and bedside reading now includes books on composting toilets. We are selecting the most water-efficient appliances and including only minimal landscaping with native species.

We can’t change what we don’t understand. So, our goal as we continue to tread a lighter path is to not only build a house in nature, but to build one with nature; using a more balanced approach that includes taking only what we need while taking nothing for granted.

Join Linda quarterly, as her family designs a plan to share a life which includes listening to the land and to each other, introducing themselves to the place and to the people, and living a communal future in Shirley, BC.

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