Take Showers, Save the Planet
Jeff Langan / Lula's Journal
Environmentalists, members of the Green Party and Progressives take note. We should start taking cold showers. This is no joke. We have a serious pollution problem on our hands. Power plants pump thousands of pollutants into the air each year. This causes smog and acid rain that kills plants and animals. It ruins plants' immune systems, making them more susceptible to life-threatening diseases. It ruins lakes and rivers, the natural habitat of fish. Trout and salmon are being born with half developed gills, three eyes, and two tails. It might even hurt humans.
These power plants also deplete mother earth of her natural resources, using up precious reserves of coal and uranium. After two centuries of abuse, she cannot take much more. Laws have proven ineffective. The polluters have bribed Congress and State Legislatures into submission. The only real response left is the personal one. You and I are to blame, and we can do something about it.
Think about it. Sociologists working in close conjunction with officials from thousands of water departments and the waste management workers across the country have spent years proving their hypothesis that, on average, men use twelve gallons of water and women use fifteen gallons of water per hot shower.
No big deal, you say, but it is a big deal. Multiply that by 280 million and imagine the figures you end up with in this country alone. It takes a lot of coal and uranium to get that water hot. And of course, in many cities, it costs energy and money to get that water to and from your shower. The plants that produce this energy are notorious for polluting the atmosphere. The hotter your shower, the more they pollute, and you let it happen.
Unlike some other problems in our society, you can do something about this one. There is no need to protest, no need to write your local congressman, and no need to hug a tree. You can act, tomorrow morning. So tomorrow, when you step up to the plate — I mean the faucet — and the time comes to choose between the H and the C, choose C, and you will be saving mother earth from her pending doom. And as you shriek for fear, wondering if you will ever survive this fiasco, imagine all those pollutants you are preventing from billowing into the air at the local power plant. You have done your part, not only will you have not used any hot water, you will have used less water.
Of course, that is not all. We will have to educate others. Since education is no longer about learning the truth, but teaching social skills that get one to conform to the dominant liberal ideology, we will have to convince everybody to take cold showers. To begin, we could have an advertising campaign. We could get funding from environmentalist groups to plaster, "Be Bold, Do it Cold" on billboards up and down the fruited plain. Following the lead of anti-smokers, we could put up billboards of stupid looking people taking hot showers.
Perhaps TV advertisers could show the faces of men and women soaping up, shampooing, and rinsing under cold water. The expressions would be much more interesting and captivating than the serene look prevalent in most ads these days. We could make TV shows and movies in which the guy who takes a hot shower is the bad guy, or someone taking a cold shower gets away from the bad guy. Do you think the girl in Psycho would have been done in by Norman if she was taking a cold shower?
Next, we could promote scientific research that reveals the health benefits of cold showers. They increase your heart rate, which is a form of exercise, and will add years to your life. They probably are better for people with acne. They make for more efficient use of time. With a cold shower, you're in and out. No standing around dreaming about never- never land. This means you get to work faster, and can be more efficient and productive, the two most important values in a capitalist society like ours.
They also make for a quick burst of energy in the morning to get all the sand out of the eyes. This might also reduce the need for coffee, decreasing caffeine addictions. The benefits are endless. I will leave it to scientists and nutritionists to figure out them all. In short, they will tell us that by taking cold showers, we will not only help the environment, we will help ourselves, making the sacrifice worth it.
Jeff Langan is a graduate student in the department of government who, some would say, is all wet.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.
All Viewpoint Stories for Friday, September 3, 1999