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The trouble with conservation

On a recent vacation, our room contained this toilet:

suck it, hippie

Now, I understand the reasoning here. The conservation minded would like you to use one button for number one and the other for number two, thereby saving some water and utility bills and stuff.

But here’s how it actually worked. The kids saw the two buttons and I explained to them how it worked. They each then proceeded to hit each button about six times so they could verify that, yes, one button did actually use less water.

19 Responses to “The trouble with conservation”

  1. mikee Says:

    At a certain age of child, repeat flushes are how ALL toilets work. Same for remote control for the TV, garage door, doorbells, and pianos. Enjoy the moment, it is all too fleeting!

  2. Chas Says:

    Conservation can work with a limited population, but when the population isn’t limited, conservation just means living more efficiently, which allows the population to increase to the point where even the most efficient conservation doesn’t work anymore.
    For all the conservation we’ve done over the decades in the US, what we’ve gotten out of it is a larger population that puts more demands on the environment and more pressure to have ever more efficient, complicated and expensive conservation.
    Another annoyance of conservation is the assumed, high morality of it, despite its ultimate inadequacy. One can feel quite the sanctimonious, environmental savior while installing an expensive, “green”, two-button toilet. Then along come a couple of kids and one’s inflated, environmental ego is suddenly deflated. Maybe Steven Chu would like to see a $500 fine for gratuitously pushing the buttons? BATFET?

  3. guffaw Says:

    Kids are scientists! They need empirical evidence!

  4. Gerry Says:

    Trust but verify.

    Ronald Reagan

  5. armed_partisan Says:

    Still I’m still so in love with low-flow toilets. The one my grandmother has needs to be flushed two or three times to handle a single load. I simply follow the old adage of “If it’s yellow, leave it mellow” for a few rounds. Both I and my grandmother live alone, guess which one of us has the lower water bill?

  6. John Richardson Says:

    Kids will be kids – thank God!

  7. Justin Buist Says:

    Needs a Taco Bell button.

  8. Don Says:

    Diversion of water from agricultural uses to growing cities is eventually self-limiting…now the previous owner of my home had a composting toilet…and my, but how green the garden was…might let ‘er lay fallow a while longer…

  9. Boxty Says:

    Ha ha. It’s not the toilet’s job to parent your children.

  10. Lyle Says:

    I find myself flushing a low-flow toilet several times. It’s a necessity, but I’ll spare you the details.

  11. Don Says:

    Every toilet I saw when visiting Australia is like this.

  12. comatus Says:

    For God’s sake, don’t show them the light in the fridge.

  13. Robert Says:

    In Spain when I lived there, all the toilets only had a tiny “bubble” (the water in the bowl). This meant that when you defecated, your turd fell onto the white porcelain and invariably left a skidmark after it was flushed. Toilet brushes get a lot of use in Spain, I guess. Or maybe not.

  14. Heather Says:

    At least that one was labeled. I encountered one where the buttons weren’t labeled, pondered for a while, then gave up and pressed both!

  15. Chrispy Says:

    I don’t really know how these work, but in a conventional toilet, the handle uses all the water in the tank to flush the toilet (up until the bobber floats to a given height). In other words, by the time you flush, the toilet has already “decided” how much water it’s going to use. If this thing works similarly, you wouldn’t be deciding how much water to use on this flush, but rather how much water to refill the tank with. Thus you’d have to predict whether your next use will be for solid or liquid. It can’t really be that ridiculous, can it?

  16. al Says:

    The trouble with conservation seems to be wastful, ill–mannered children.

  17. SayUncle Says:

    It’s not their fault. I’d hit both and say ‘suck it, hippie’.

  18. M Gallo Says:

    In Italy all the toilets had two buttons, but nothing was labeled. I ended up pushing both in different orders in several different places where I urinated in order to establish a scientific standard of “what do these two buttons do?” I wasted a LOT of water to determine that there was no apparent standard, and the size or orientation seemed to have little to do with the volume of water produced. I, of course, had no way of knowing if all the toilets and their respective buttons were properly functioning, however.

  19. Jennifer Says:

    Buttons want to be pressed.