This water timer on my shower wall was given to me by a friendly young volunteer at the Waterloo Region Water Conservation tent at my local farmer’s market this past summer. It’s a simple blue octagon bisected with a small hourglass; the top reads STOP IN TIME in white block letters, and the bottom features the Region’s brand image. It came with a rubber suction cup so I could stick it to the wall of my shower, able to view it easily when showering.
I thought it would be a good idea – and it is. It’s a great idea, actually. I assume that whoever developed this little timer thingy measured how much water goes down the drain from the showerhead in roughly 4.5 minutes, the amount of time precisely that the hourglass measures and, in order to curb excessive water use, the Region hands these out free to citizens.
It’s very nifty: it saves the environment and on my water bill, and I take very brief showers as it is. What’s not to like?
A thing I’m doing is eating less meat. To be fair, I always have done so – I was an economic vegetarian until quite recently (meaning that meat is expensive and difficult to make well, so I just didn’t really bother buying much for myself, though I ate meat whenever it was provided to me by family/friends/restaurants), and after a brief period of eating lots of bison and beef (because Alberta), I’ve started to reduce again. I’m still not at the point where I refuse it if offered, but I’m dabbling in only ordering vegan/vegetarian options when I can, and only prepping vegan/vegetarian options for myself at home.
Just a note, before we get into it: these actions are a result of my personal attitude and positioning. Avoiding animal products can be spendy,1 and depends mightily on where you are located, your culture, your family, your allergies and likes/dislikes…. food is so personal and so tightly bound up with identity.
I came across an article the other night on concrete (The Problem with Reinforced Concrete) that, after reading halfway through, I retweeted to remind myself to read fully the next morning.* And I have, and it’s a fascinating glimpse into one aspect of the how of urban decay aesthetic so beloved by cyberpunks, and an equally fascinating rebuke of the conceit of many twentieth-century far-future science fiction novels where all that is left of humanity is their concrete.