Sustainablog Takes the 4 Liter Challenge (w/ Video)

Hi, gang! It’s been a while since our last post, and since then this “4 liter challenge” thing has surged in popularity and then kinda died down. A few weeks ago, however, our good friend Jeff McIntire-Strasburg took on the challenge and documented his day in words and YouTube videos which he was kind enough to share with Blue Living Elements, below. Enjoy!


Jeff Takes the 4 Liter Challenge

4 liter challenge

“Water, water everywhere” sums up the American relationship with water (well, except maybe Californians these days): we expect to turn on the tap and have water for drinking, bathing, cleaning and cooking instantly available to us. For much of the developing world, though, you’ve got to add the next line of Coleridge’s famous poem: “Water, water everywhere/Nor any drop to drink.” Water sources are contaminated or polluted or otherwise unfit for human consumption. As such, many in the developing world must live on an average of 4 liters of water a day (about a gallon) for all of those necessities that we usually take for granted.

So, today, I (and many others) am taking a shot at living just a bit like those people in the poorest parts of the world by taking the 4 Liters Challenge. In short, I’m going to limit myself to  liters of water for drinking, bathing, cleaning, and cooking today. I’ll be shooting short videos throughout the day to update you on my progress – here’s the first one:

Some important caveats: I’m the only one in my house taking the challenge today – my wife, step-daughter, and grandson are living life as normal. I am washing my hands when necessary, especially when I have to do things for my grandson… and feeling grateful that I’m able to make that choice. As far as the bathroom goes, I’m going to try sticking with “If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down” – enough said.

Check back on this post throughout the day for video updates. And if you’d like to donate to the cause, please use my user link so I get credited for your donation:

UPDATE (mid-afternoon): I must admit, this is tougher than I thought it would be – never realized how much I take available clean water for granted. Yes, I’m having fun – hopefully, the videos show that – but I’m learning more than I thought I would. For instance, I caught myself thinking about “embedded water,” whether water mixed in with other ingredients in a product, or just water used at points along the supply chain. Makes me realize just how difficult it is to account for all the water we use in a day. Here’s the mid-afternoon video report:

UPDATE (evening): So, I got kind of tired last night (which also explains why this is going up the day after). But I got through the 4 liter challenge without cheating too much… and learned some things about my own water consumption, as well as our first-world assumptions about this necessary resource:

Thanks so much for your support! I challenged others over at Facebook


Image credit: Shutterstock

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Author: Jo Borrás

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