I tip the last drops of water into my mouth and rinse out my glass, steering the tap lever up and left. Fluid thunders out of the pipe like tubular ocean – the Amazonian sound-spray filling my ears. The weight of a hundred micro-storms splice over my hand as if my knuckles were river-rocks. I stare into the black drain-hole as the raindrop tapestry pours like a dragon-wound, sluicing in with dish grit, and dissipating like a star. It’s been eight earth seconds and only now are the artificial cogs of man-churned electricity effecting the water. Gradually the temperature rises – so gradually my hand is deceived and the atmosphere of my skin throbs like a dessert. I grab the glass and thrust it under. The tap drills deep into the little tank, the hull bursting forth like a devastated dam, forcing core layers to dislodge and spew over the rim in a volcanic avalanche. My fingers drop the glass and yank down on the emergency brake. The cable is snapped off with a pipe-trembling jolt. The surface of the glass teeters like a troubled sea, and is still. A single droplet hangs from the tap. With the weight of sunlight it hangs, falls and disappears into the saltless depths below.
Like all Australians, I help my home produce over 350 litres of grey water every day. Grey water is household water that can be safely reused. For example, keeping a bucket in the shower and then using it to water the garden, or make cordial for guests you don’t like. Unfortunately my share house doesn’t do this. Unless you count the cupful of tears I cried after watching ‘An Inconvenient Truth.’ I used it to nourish a punnet of sunflower seedlings.
I watched the aforementioned documentary last week, and have been oscillating between dogged enthusiasm for change and annihilating pessimism ever since. A well-meaning, well-groomed Al Gore while stating it isn’t too late to save the earth, also dropped footage of a C.G.I. polar bear slipping off a decaying iceberg and paddling away to drown. That scene alone was responsible for my CO² emissions being cut by 40%. I was so depressed I couldn’t get out of bed.
In my early teens, when the term ‘greenhouse effect’ was first bandied around, I had elaborate fantasies about just how bad things would have to get before my life was directly interrupted. Read: visions of knee-deep street water, sixty degree days and Neighbours being interrupted by emergency bulletins stating that a massive environmental overhaul was going to take place city by city. S.W.A.T teams bursting through doors and beating up air conditioners, dragging people out of showers and throwing paddock size blankets over service stations. My theory was that until something this dramatic occurred, how could mankind digest a purely word-based threat to something as monumental as its ‘taken for granted since 1703’ existence. Ten years on and a ‘Convenient Untruth’ U.S. Government still can’t sign Kyoto, demand for water is set to double every 21 years, and three billion gatecrashers are expected in 2050.
Sometimes I feel like the polar bear, slipping around on my dwindling iceberg of optimism, searching for a once plentiful supply of hope-fish. Perhaps we are on the way out. Perhaps this simply is the best we can do. In the share house of the world, we could do with an angry note from God right about now, blu-takked to the clouds. It’s either that or we wait for the great big house meeting in the sky.
For just $25 you can adopt a Polar Bear! www.WildlifeAdoption.org