Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Apartment Grey Water: A (Frustrating) Work in Progress #1

We all know we ought to be more careful with water. In Israel, it's always been part of the culture to turn off the water whilst soaping up in the shower or brushing teeth, etc. And, I'm pretty proud that we're on the cutting edge of water technology. But there's still a huge water shortage. Jordan-our neighbour-is the fourth water-poorest country in the world! Thankfully, Knesset has passed a water tax, which has proven to decrease water consumption by 13.5%, which is a marvellous start. Click here for an English article.

With the month of Elul upon us, during which we focus on the concepts of rectification, or tshuva, we are afforded an interesting lens with which to look at environmentalism. Let me back up before i clarify. The idea of introspection and rebuilding actually begins in Av, a month marked by the mourning of the tragedies in Jewish history. Mourning these tragedies is a catalyst for introspection, which hopefully leads to an improved mode of existence. On Tisha B'Av, i watched The 11th Hour, feeling somewhat guilty, until i realised that it was quite an appropriate film for the occasion.
The message i took from it was that we need to acknowledge a problem, accept our responsibility, and solve that problem. Moreover, we need to seek the cause, and adjust our way of life--this is much of the thrust behind Elul. The Jewish people's division is the traditional reason for the destruction of the Temple. So, too, is our disconnect from the natural world, our fragmented existence, the cause of our eco-catastrophe. We see ourselves as quite outside of nature, and when we look at natural phenomena, it tends to be in a very localised, or isolated fashion. Mourning our lack of unity as a nation is a reminder to build bridges within our communities and to other communities. The Arava Institute harnesses the potential of environmentalism to repair ruptures that occurred between humans and nature and between different nations :

I guess it's fair to say that i have been thinking about what i can do to help the environment.Wow--it's so anti-climactic after discussing lofty concepts like fragmentation, rectification, unification, redemption, etc. I'm trying to come up with a way to reuse water to flush my toilet. There are a lot of DIY systems out there but many look like that old school board game Mouse Trap. In other words, too complicated to make by yourself, too much of a pain if you can, and most likely, expensive and unrealistic. Below is a cool system from Instructables. I'm going to devote a few posts to how my system evolves (hopefully it will) in the hopes that anyone who stumbles on this may be able to provide some constructive feedback or criticism. There is a guy called Craig Saunders who has a blog called Green Tenant--which has great suggestions for those of us who do not own our homes. And hopefully, with some feedback from you, we'll come up with some more suggestions together! Fingers crossed...

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