Shower Shorter

Is there anything better than a long, hot shower? Especially this time of year? Seriously, coming in from a cold walk or after a brisk snowshoe, a hot shower can warm your bones and clean away the sweat in the most refreshing way possible.

Personally though, I find it way too easy to waste time daydreaming and singing my way through Adele’s latest hits (badly, I might add), rather than sticking to the necessities of actually getting clean and getting out in a timely manner.

Unfortunately, as we all know, water is a finite resource. Those of us who are fortunate enough to have flowing fresh water at our easy disposal should be cautious to reserve as much as possible, rather than let it flow down the drain.


1. Check out a low-flow shower head.

Unless you have super thick hair, chances are you don’t need to have extreme pressure all the time. I know some people think the water should pelt you to an almost painful degree, but if you can still rinse with a little less, then give it a try. 

2. Shut the tap when you shampoo and shave.

The water definitely does not need to stay running while you’re getting your lather on. 

3. Set a timer. 

You could use an old-fashioned kitchen timer or, if you know all the words to Paradise by the Dashboard Light, you can sing your way to an 8-minute shower.

4. Cool it down. 

Does it have to be burning hot? Not likely. If you can keep your cool and still get clean, you’ll save the energy from heating up all the water needed for your shower.

And here’s a bonus tip:

When I was an undergrad my house had an upstairs and a downstairs shower with which a couple of my roommates would have “shower races.” Someone would start the timer and whomever made it back to the living room first (clothed but usually still totally damp) would win.

What are your best tips to keep your showers short?


Five Million Litre Oil Spill in Northern Alberta

The media is reporting that Nexen Energy’s pipeline ruptured sometime between June 29th and July 15th. The spill resulted in 5 million litres of heavy crude, or, 31,500 barrels. The double-layered steel pipe was only 8 months old and Nexen Energy has yet to provide an explanation or any other information beyond a feeble “apology.”

Watch the video report below:

But how? How does this happen? You have a warning system to specifically prevent this from happening! Nexen Energy isn’t sure yet and it could be months before the public is informed.

Meanwhile, 16,000 square metres of muskeg is slathered in bitumen, sand and produced water.

Nexen Energy CEO, Fang Zhi, has contributed little insight on the matter.


okrry(1)okrrdSenior Vice President, Ron Bailey, isn’t so full of answers himself.

But it’s okay, guys, because they’re both disappointed and sorry.

This is the second spill that has taken place at this site. Residents of local First Nations communities are concerned about the long-term impact this will have on the environment and wildlife, and rightfully so.

Regardless of your politics on the issue of oil drilling, at the very least, we should all be able to agree that enforcement of responsible drilling has to be a priority. How many accidents until an apology doesn’t cut it anymore?


Interested in other environmental issues? View this post and many others at where I post as Mindful Echo.


Hang in there, Bats: A bad news/good news update

Remember back around Hallowe’en when I shared that terrifying story about bats? The one that indicated that the number of brown bats found in Atlantic Canada had dropped from 7,000 to 22 since 2011? (Yes 7,000 to 22.)

Well, the bad news is that this past winter we lost even more. New Brunswick researchers have only been able to locate 13. THIRTEEN. It’s truly, truly heartbreaking. At this point the Maritimes can say goodbye to the wee bats and only hope that the region will see a re-population sometime in the very distant future (if ever). Female bats only reproduce a single pup per year so the process will be slow at best.


But not all is lost! There’s good news yet!

 Researchers at Georgia State University are working to inhibit the growth of the white-nose fungus by using the bacteria Rhodococcus rhodochrousin. 

 In the winter of 2015, 150 bats were found to have survived in caves in Kentucky and Missouri.

“It looks like bats were able to survive with the help of the bacterium so it’s promising,” says Karen Vanderwolf, a bat conservation specialist with the Canadian Wildlife Federation in New Brunswick.


We should be grateful to the researchers who are working to save endangered populations like these. This glimmer of hope is something to hold on to when we worry about the animals with whom we share our planet.

And to the tiny surviving bats. Well done and hang in there, guys!

Interested in other environmental issues? View this post and many others at where I post as Mindful Echo.