J500 Media and the Environment

My Environmental Awakening by micolea

Photo by paul david/Courtesy Flickr

When it comes to helping conserve the environment, my mom practices what she preaches. Long before I was even aware of our planet’s perils, my mom was doing her part and setting an admirable example for me to follow.   

Conserving water: It is a part of my mother’s daily routine to always turns off the faucet when she is brushing her teeth, and when showering she also turns off the water in between shampooing and conditioning her hair. Plus, when washing the dishes, instead of letting a constant stream of water run, she just fills the sink with the water needed. To understand why my mom is stringent about the issue of water is to acknowledge her childhood. My mom came from a country where water was often rationed. In some of the provinces in the Philippines water was only available for certain times during the day. After those hours, the water companies would simply turn the water off. This was a normal, everyday occurence.

Curtailing food waste: In my mom’s eyes the only thing worst than wasting water is wasting food. At dinner time, I was reminded regularly to only take the amount I could eat. Likewise, we would always eat leftovers. My mom was determined not to throw away any food that was “still perfectly fine,” as she would say. I recall one of the first and most astonishing cultural experiences I had regarding food waste. I was nine years old and my mom, aunt and myself were dining at a buffet in Manila, Philippines. Being young, and considering that my eyes were often bigger than my stomach, I was unable to finish all of the food on my plate. When the waiter came to collect our plates and he saw the remnants of uneaten food still left on mine, he sternly informed my mom that there would be an extra charge for the wasted food. At that age, I did not understand the gravity of wasted food, but now, in retrospect, I realize the relevance of that experience.   

My mom grew up in a country where water was scarce and access to food was, at times, limited. Her upbringing and her surroundings are what engrained in her an appreciation and respect for the environment and its natural resources. We all come from different walks of life and our cultures and the society’s we live in shape our experiences and attitudes about the environment.   

It was and still is my mom’s continuous example of being aware and caring about the world around her that inspired me to reevaluate my daily routines. I began to incorporate my mom’s environmental habits into my collegiate lifestyle. It wasn’t an overnight change, but a gradual adjustment in recognizing that in order to make tomorrow better, I have to start today. We are all in this together. Each action we make, no matter how big or small, affects us all. Each of us, as individuals, can take small steps to improve the health of our planet.   

Micole Aronowitz


7 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Your mom sounds like she really does conserve well. I’m especially impressed about the shower situation!
About the restaurant in the Philippines–I actually think that might not be a bad idea! I just don’t see it happening here because of our incredibly low cost of food.
Were you able to experience the water rationing in the Philippines when you visited as well?
–Ben P.

Comment by bpirotte


I spent a month in the Philippines and of the time I was there, I wouldn’t necessarily say that I experienced water rationing, but I learned the importance of not overusing water. I remember an instance when my aunt used a couple of gallons of water to cook, wash the dishes and hand wash some of her clothes. I found this to be very impressive!

Thanks for your question.

Micole A.

Comment by micolea

Very interesting post. I was very interested in reading about the ways your mom conserves. I can relate to many of your mother’s habits. I too turn off the water while brushing my teeth, and I have, because the circumstances, turned off the water during a shower.

I agree with Ben that I think the restaurant charging is a good idea, but I don’t think it would happen here.
I am wondering which of your mother’s habits, have you begun incorporating?
Very interesting post!
-Jackie M.

Comment by jackiemcc


I have incorporated into my daily routine the habits of turning off the water while brushing my teeth, filling the sink with water instead of letting the water run when washing the dishes and with each meal, making a sincere effort not to waste food.

I’m glad that you were able to relate to the post. Thanks for your question.

Micole A.

Comment by micolea


I don’t think it’s a bad idea, but I am wondering why the restaurant charged for the extra food? Do you think it costs them money to discard of it? -Kristina B.

Comment by kristinabev


The restaurant charges extra for food waste to teach people not to waste; to only consume what they can. I think their intentions are to instill in people a sense of awareness about food waste.

To answer your second question, yes, it costs the restaurant extra to prepare more food.

Micole A.

Comment by micolea

PS- Gorgeous photo!

Comment by kristinabev

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