Emma’s Lifestyle Project Reflection

Growing up, my simplified concept of the water cycle led to gross misconceptions about water as a resource. From what I can remember, learning about the water cycle in grade school consisted of a basic image…

1. There was a cloud that had a “precipitation” arrow coming down from it
2. This arrow (associated with a smiling rain drop) then went into to a body of water labeled something such as “Lake”
3. From the “Lake”, wavy arrows labeled “Evaporation” went up to the sky.

All the arrows curved in a circle making a seemingly continuous (renewable) cycle.

I associated this process with my use of water. I had the understanding that when I took a shower water was taken from the Mississippi, the dirty water from my shower went down the drain and got collected/cleaned, and then the water went right back into the river ready to be used again.

Childhood was bliss. I could take my long warm showers without guilt or worry. Why worry about saving water if it will always be there? I knew not to “waste” water but that I associated more with thinking about the cost and energy to use and clean it, not the resource of water itself. Unfortunately, greater awareness of water conservation issues has shattered my ideal “never depleting water image”. While I was not completely wrong in my original conceptions about where water comes from and how it is transported (especially in the case of Saint Paul, MN) I was missing some key points…

Now that I have an increased awareness about this topic (by no means complete understanding) I realized I should step it up and try to limit the amount of water I use. This means my lifestyle goal is…(I just did a drum roll on the table) to reduce my hot water use by taking showers every other day for the duration of 5 minutes or less.

So far, this has been a struggle. I have been SO close to accomplishing my goal for about two weeks but I have run into some barriers.

Trying not to be just a Negative Nancy, I will show my Positive Polly side about this project also in a Con/Pro “Chart”.


1. I have found it takes 45-50 seconds for the water to reach the “Emma endorsed temperature for acceptable bathing warmth”. This means about 1/5 of my shower time is taken up by just getting the water ready.
2. I hate turning off the water between “lathering” and “rinsing”. I know it saves water running time, and would allow me to take “longer” but less water consumptive showers BUT…Early morning + being cold and wet = Pure Anger.
(so I stopped attempting to do this after the first week)
3. I feel pressured by the “tick Tick TICKing” of my watch. It may not actually make noises, but I constantly am thinking OH NO I only have 2.01 minutes left…
4. Situations such as what happened Wednesday *(explanation below)
5. I feel like my efforts to conserve water really doesn’t make any difference in the grand scheme of things. (which persuades me to stop trying)


1. Personal Growth…(?)
2. I am still sticking with it and have not given up yet
3. I can sleep longer because I don’t wake up as early (10 minutes makes a BIG difference)

Hopefully as the weeks go on there will be more to say about the positives….

* Time: 7:08 am
Day: Wednesday
Location: The shower

I looked down at my watch and saw that I had been running the water for 4:31 minutes. I thought SHOOT, I have less than 30 seconds and I have not rinsed the shampoo out of my hair. However, I did “finish” the rinsing process and was just over my 5 minute goal. Success? Not quite. When I was back in my room and brushed my hair I noticed that I still had shampoo on the left side of my head in “fluffy lather form” Did I go back and fix it? NO. (Although it was because I would have been late for my 8:00am class… not because I was really concerned about using more water…)

What happened? It made my head itchy. On the outer layer it sort of dried and ended up flaking. I could move my hair and it would “snow” like that one girl in the Breakfast Club. It was nasty buckets. Also, it just got really greasy. Yeah, so I felt gross…

That’s about it for this week.

My “mini” goal for next week is trying to have a better attitude. However, I realize that not everyone can be a Kenny S.


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