Protecting the Planet…or People?

October 16th, 2012 Posted by Susan's Musings 6 comments

I’m not sure of a delicate way to put this, but I’d like to
talk about toilets. You see, we were in Israel for the Biblical holyday of
Sukot (Tabernacles) and in addition to the fantastic experiences we had (along
with seeing our daughter, son-in-law, incredibly cute grandson, friends and
relatives) I also had an environmental epiphany.

Israel is a desert. Although it is a desert that has bloomed
since the return of her people it is still a desert. Water is scarce and valued.
This brings us to the subject of
toilets. Israeli toilets have two levers allowing one to instigate a ‘less
powerful’ or ‘more powerful’ flush. Both of these choices effectively complete
the necessary job.

By contrast, many municipalities in the United States have
made water-conservation a priority, mandating low-flush toilets. I have been in
numerous private homes and hotels where free choice in toilets is non-existent.
(Have you noticed that to certain groups free choice is a phrase that applies
to abortion, but never to schooling, toilets, light bulbs, food or any other
area of life? But, I digress.)No matter who is paying the water bill, anemic
toilets dot the landscape.

 These low-flush
toilets rarely work as promised. They often need to be flushed three or four
times to accomplish their mission. It is difficult to believe that flushing
four times per use yields water savings, nevertheless, politicians, bureaucrats
and social engineers pat themselves on the back for “caring about the planet.” It
seems irrelevant whether their “caring” actually solves a problem and improves
life. They certainly appear indifferent to the annoyance they cause human
beings. Completely unimportant is whether their machinations damage businesses
and by extension, their present and potential employees.

Why do Israel and the United States deal with the same
concern of saving water in such different ways? I think the answer may lie in
the motivation. Environmentalists in the United States who have gained
political power see nature as holy and supreme while people are annoying
intruders. In Israel, each human life is precious and nature is to be respected,
but its purpose is to serve man. Israeli toilets are engineered to allow
citizens to live with dignity and prosperity, while recognizing the reality of
a water shortage. In the States, environmental policies seem to be crafted to
provide absolution, punishing ‘regular’ people for existing, while providing
financial reward and prestige for a chosen few who find government favor.

We end up in the States with wind turbines that kill birds
and yield no energy savings. Astonishingly, highway projects are designed to
slow down traffic in the hopes of forcing people into mass transit. Government
money is distributed based on rhetoric rather than reality. Meanwhile, Israel
successfully harnesses alternate technologies such as solar energy and manages
with limited resources. When the goal is for humans to follow God’s directive
to “be fruitful, multiply, fill the land and conquer her” rather than to deify
nature and scorn humanity, both nature and humans are better served.

I don’t want you to miss out on our “Appreciation Day Sale,” which is in its final few hours. Get either of our library packs at an even greater discount than usual and enjoy hours of investing in enhancing your life and/or the lives of those you want to bless.

6 comments

James says:

Hi. Mrs. Lapin! Your husband the Rabbi advises us to value and respect nature, but not to worship her. I wish I could quote him exactly. Value and respect trees, water and animals but do not worship them.
Would you remember the poor woman during the 1980’s who lost her home during rampant wildfires in California? She was forbidden to dig fire trenches by the Government, who impose crippling fines on homeowners who dig protective trenches to thwart the spreading of fire, ostensibly because the trenches might harm or disturb one or two burrows of little prairie dogs. In desperation the woman lamented on TV after her home burned down: “Who’s more important, little prairie dogs or human beings?”
Prairie dogs, by the way, are not all sweetness and light. In California and Colorado deserts the cute little animals can harbor fleas carrying bubonic plague. National Geographic tells us why. Once during the 19th century bubonic plague arrived at San Francisco by shipping from the Orient. The jobbing city mayor at the time refused to impose the necessary quarantine, advertising instead: No problem here! Business as usual! Business was preserved, but fleas carrying plague thrived and later spread inland, and they infect people out in the desert to this day.
What is wrong with this picture? Is it people worshipping false gods, erecting regulatory idols to Nature, Prairie Dogs and Business? Or as you seem to suggest, to Water and Energy, to the detriment of common sense?

Mrs Martinez says:

Dear Mrs Lapin:
The devices you describe for toilets in Israel ARE available here-we have 2 in our home! The first one I bought at Costco 2-3yrs ago when I saw it in the store the same week we were in need of replacing the leaky inards of one of our toilet tanks. The second we bought this year, at Home Depot-both to replace a different leaky tank AND because the first one was so successful! They are a higher initial investment, but make up for that easily in the water savings. I also put one in my kids bathroom in hopes that having a “button choice” would stimulate their memories (so they would remember to flush!) I agree with you completely about the low flow toilets…they don’t work as well. The “low flow” toilets in my Dad’s house have much smaller tanks, and the device didn’t fit in those….it only fit in conventional tanks.
Mrs. Martinez

Mrs. Martinez, Thank you for letting me know I was wrong on these toilets not being available here. I wonder if there is a listing of hotels that purchase them?

Carol says:

Right on, Susan! I wish some of our elected leaders had as much common sense as we the people. Water in my home is supplied by a deep well dug by my grandfather many years ago. As I’ve one by one replaced various faucets in my home, I’m constantly frustrated by the “water saving” features on the new faucets. Daily mundane tasks, such as washing my hands, take so much more time. I’m still going to use the same amount of water, but thanks to our government it now takes me three times longer. This might not be a problem for those on municipal water, but lots of Americans still have wells.
Any body of people who puts nature, as wonderful as it is, above human beings who are created in the very image of God has lost its way.

Emmanuel says:

I like this article…God certainly likes it when we participate in healing the world…rather than only shutting ourselves in monasteries in search for Him

Jean Westenfelder says:

I live on Lake Michigan. I looked out my west window last night because there was a beautiful pink-orange glow in the sky. I believe it was God smiling down on His children and their antics, as I did when my own children each wanted their own way.
Is it really true that beautiful sunsets are the result of pollution in the upper atmosphere?

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