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According to Areany: Less is More

Associated Student Government (ASG) Senator Areany Tolentino ‘17 is passionate about water - specifically, how individual actions in regard to conservation can have a lasting impact.

As a sophomore, Areany started the ASG campaign “60 Seconds Less,” a university-wide movement to encourage awareness of water usage and increase mindful consumption of the precious resource. “The idea started small,” Tolentino says, “reduce our usages of water by one minute - as we took showers, used the sink, did our laundry, etc.”

Areany says that the inspiration for the undertaking came after reading a number of alarming statistics regarding the state of the drought in California. She explains that she felt the University had a responsibility to take unified action in response to the pressing issue. Working in conjunction with the Center for Sustainability, the campaign became an interorganizational effort that launched successfully during an ASG tabling session at GREEN Club’s annual Earth Day Fair. The event featured a life-size makeshift shower where students could view demonstrations of a “navy shower,” a technique originally used by Navy members to conserve freshwater on ships. The idea is to use as little water as possible by turning off the faucet between rinses (learn how to take your own here!). The campaign launch also featured a 10-ft banner with the “60 Seconds Less” pledge upon which community members signed their names as a commitment to more sustainable water usage (decreasing their water use by one minute). Blue wristbands, as well as iron-on patches, were distributed to participants to be worn as a visible, daily reminder of this commitment.

With the supposed severity of the drought in California behind us, it is easy to become complacent in our use of water. However, there are many underlying residual issues such as groundwater replenishment, snowpack retention, and aquifer regeneration that will continue to plague the state long after the drought is declared “over.” Regardless of state of the California drought, water is a precious limited resource that should not be squandered. It is movements like “60 Seconds Less” that emphasize the importance of integrating small, repeatable sustainable actions into our long-term lifestyles. It is only through a shift in our attitude toward water as a scarcity necessary for the survival of all people (including future generations) and away from a sense of entitlement, that we can begin to approach the issue of water conservation sustainably. “I know that the water I save from taking a navy shower will not directly go to California regions that have the shorter end of distribution,” Tolentino says, “but understanding that a behavior of advocacy leads to an impact on collective action is the driving force behind my enthusiasm for this campaign.”