It was an order; to have two filled canteens when having a full-gear. Each canteen was about one litter of water, so two litters of water per day was recommended. Many soldiers had those empty to ease the full-gear weight. Some sergeants walked around, mischievously hitting the canteens attached to the privates’ gears. If found empty, they had to give sergeants some amounts of push-ups. Having two litters of water for me wasn’t a big deal; I had those filled every time, and sometimes put a favoured powder to make the water taste better. When in field training, actually drinking water helped a lot to pass the cold night, and to avoid hunger.
Now I do still use a canteen, rather a modern one for now adapted to modern and civic society. I no longer have a dark-green plastic canteen, but a colourful and stainless metal canteen for the sporty use. It’s called KLEAN KANTEEN, and I believe it’s a German brand. I bought this as a set of chocolate and strawberry combination; influenced by the famous Cuban movie called ‘Fresa y Chocolate (Strawberry and Chocolate)‘ of its script written by Senel Paz. It’s an Oscar nominated movie in 1994. I saw this movie two years ago, which didn’t impact me much that very time. But when I was looking around shopping centres to buy a canteen like this, this colour combination was the only match I could roll, so I bought two; one in bright red colour and the other in smoky black. The black one was a gift and the red one stayed with me.
Yesterday some German friends came over to my house to hang out. There I saw a product of Klean Kanteen. I was so happy as if I met a family that I’d lost for a long time (so I took a photo as above). They were travellers and they had that canteen to fill up water, instead of buying plastic-bottled water every time they find water to drink. Mine was only for one litter, but theirs was for two full litters, which reminded me both of army days and of when I bought this canteen. And then I recalled how much I tried to care the environment and do what I could do even though it would be a small personal change. Here are the lists of what I’ve pursued:
- Using a fountain pen, filling its ink up. I’ve been using the same fountain pen over 5 years now. I find it more practical that I don’t lose any more plastic pens that were rolling over somewhere inside my bag. For 5 years I haven’t bought any plastic pen, and only gained it when some conferences or workplaces distributed some as a souvenir.
- Using my own canteen or ceramic cup, than using a plastic cup that is only for an one-time-use.
- Trying to read more on screen rather than having it printed to read. I’m shifting to ebook market than paperbook market, even though the volume difference of two markets is considerable (28% and 65% each in market domination observed in the United States).
- Not using plastic bags, unless for a trash bag use. When shopping, I bring my own bag to carry items. Luckly, Buenos Aires this year approved a public policy that prohibited the distribution of plastic bags at groceries and supermarkets, which I find progressive.
- Not buying clothes, since the colour-dying materials for clothes are one of the main water contaminators. I exchange clothes. I donate and get donated used clothes. It is quite easier for me since I move around year by year, which allowed me not to have quite a volume of clothes. I bought a belt to tighten and suit up the big size pants to my waist.
- Not letting water running when to wash dishes and brush teeth.
- Using my own bicycle, instead of using other transportation. If in use, prefer public transportation to private one.
- Buying a local industry product than an international one. Carbon footprint matters. It’s hard sometimes since the international products normally count with a good quality. But if there’s no critical difference in quality, I’d buy a local product (even though sometimes I find the opposite case in Argentina for its protected industry polices).
- Keeping a vegan diet, with a time-to-time-retreat to a vegetarian diet. Water footprint also matters (even though I’m walking toward a vegan path not by this reason). I believe that a vegan (or vegetarian) diet is more tasty and diverse than a meat-based diet.
I’m not a saint nor a frontier. Of course in many ways I’m not doing well for the whole environmental issues, but here are those little habits that I carry with me to make something better. I know the big industries have fundamental impact on such climate issues than the individual act of some consumers does. Still I’d do what I could do. It’s not at all difficult when to think about it. There are so many substitutions that can be made, not losing the joy of same lifestyle.
Sometimes, you eventually meet a family member unexpectedly, just my canteen met another canteen. A small water drop can spill over the gigantic ocean.