People who talk about the weather are often labeled boring people. When people don’t know what to talk about, they talk about the weather. Is it true bad weather is when really boring people come alive? Andy Borowitz wrote this very funny article to help us understand why some people talk about the weather. Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the Jain research, development and demonstration farm in Jalgaon, India. The sign in the picture above is what greets you as you enter the main gate. It’s a sign of the weather, but also of rainfall. Everywhere you travel in the area people are acutely aware of rainfall amounts. Their lives literally depend on it. Water in this area is a precious commodity and there are thousands of farmers and the entire community who depend on it. Almost everyone I spoke with knew rainfall amounts and where the water line is in relation to the dam on the river. None of these conversations were boring.
Is It The Way We Talk About Weather In the U.S. water has been plentiful and cheap, but that is changing. If you spend time in California these days, you know people are talking about the weather and this just may fall in the category of boring people coming alive when the weather gets bad. When the drought ends will they still be talking about the weather?
Focus On Water Instead of talking about whether what if we shift the focus to water, or more specifically rainfall. Do you know how much rainfall is considered average for where you live? Do you know how much rain has fallen this year in relation to the average? People manage resources more efficiently when they can measure it. This video of people washing their hands before and after the real-time measurement is a classic reminder of how much better we manage what we can measure. Their water use drops dramatically when they know how much they are using. Sharing information on rainfall amounts will raise awareness of water. If people better understand the rain cycle they will be more likely to conserve. Increasing awareness is the first step to making changes in water use habits. Talking about rainfall is not going to solve our water problems by itself. Helping people understand the vital connection between rainfall, water, and life will create more interesting conversations and help shift us away from the label that talking about the weather is something boring people do. And yes, there will still be boring to talk about the weather, but that shouldn’t stop us from engaging others in the more stimulating talk about rainfall. It’s part of the many steps we need to take to manage water more efficiently in the U.S.