Water everywhere, but not a drop to waste | SummitDaily.com

Water everywhere, but not a drop to waste

Biff America

Michael drinks his own urine. I’m not sure why, but I think it has something to do with yoga or Hinduism.

He’s employed by a radio station where I used to work part-time. Not long after I began there, one of my coworkers asked if I had met Michael yet. When I said I hadn’t, the coworker continued, “Oh, dude, you got to meet Mike; the guy’s a nut. He drinks his own urine.” That got my attention.

When our paths finally crossed, Mike seemed normal enough, but I had to ask.

“Hi Michael, I’m Biff. We’ll be working together today; do you really drink your own urine?”

If the question surprised him, he hid it well. He pleaded guilty as charged but said he didn’t do it every day, and never at work. When I inquired as to a reason, Michael said simply, “What else am I going to do with it?” I think Mike was pulling my leg.

I haven’t seen Mike in years, but I’ve been thinking of him lately.

Though he took it to a bizarre extreme, Michael certainly didn’t waste water.

With the lakes and rivers of Colorado as dry as a Mormon wedding, our state is undergoing a water shortage of historical proportion. What used to be raging rivers are now trickling creeks, lakes are mud flats, and some poorer communities have closed municipal swimming pools and installed diving boards at the sewage treatment plants. Despite that, you need only take a 10-minute walk to see lunkheads watering their lawns. Not only watering their lawns, but watering during the heat of the day, watering until the excess runs down the street, and even watering during the very occasional rainstorms.

I’m not sure why conservation is such a foreign concept in this country. Perhaps it is America’s unwillingness to bow before neither man nor nature. America is blessed with wealth and natural resources, and we seem unable to fathom why one can’t always buy the other. The sad, simple truth is America uses roughly 11 times per capita the water and energy as the rest of the planet on average. We subjugate our surroundings to suit our geographical whimsy. No place is that more evident than in the mountains and deserts.

In 1974, after my first winter in Colorado, I showed up back in my old Boston neighborhood wearing cowboy boots and a Stetson. My brother Mark, while helping me apply iodine after my third fistfight said, “Don’t confuse where you are with where you’ve been.” In other words, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” and you won’t get beat up as much.

The High Country is full of people, myself included, who come from somewhere else. It seems their natural inclination is to try to change mountains into the suburbs they left behind. They want wide paved streets, chain-store shopping, and green lawns since that’s what they had back home.

Though the High Country can be green and lush, much of it is essentially a high desert. That being the case, green lawns, non-native flora and fauna are as natural in a ski town as affordable daycare.

It sickens me during this summer of drought to see irrigation systems soaking those perfect lawns and landscaping of high-end homes and condos. The fact that some well users feel that, as long as the water table is not excessively low, they can waste to their hearts “delights is akin to Nero fiddling while Rome burned.

So, until the drought is over, or even after, think about the water you use and the water you waste. Shut off sprinklers, hand-water your outdoor plants, let your foolish lawns go brown. If you want to play on green grass, visit a park or golf course. This is only common sense and a small sacrifice. You need not go overboard, just consider before you waste. And if you want to take it to its not-so-logical conclusion, you do as my old friend Michael did. Just don’t ask to borrow my toothbrush S

Biff America can be seen on RSN television, heard on KOA and KYSL radio, and read in this and other fine newspapers.

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