We’d love to populate our bathroom with plants: flowering, fragrant, rampant plants glistening with beads of water. We’d even enjoy an occasional visit from a ladybird. But seriously: whether we enjoy the evening mood over the roofs of the city when we look out of the bathroom window, think back to our last holiday by the sea as we enjoy a relaxing bath or step out onto the patio after our morning shower to take a few deep breaths of fresh air – we rarely feel as in touch with nature during the course of our daily routine as we do in the bathroom.
That triggers a sense of responsibility. Pushing the economy button on the hand shower or toilet cistern makes us feel better. Sustainable behaviour is in fact largely a question of individual responsibility. When it comes to saving water, the Germans are exemplary amongst the industrial nations. Since the 1970s, the country has even managed to reduce its water requirement by one fifth to the current level of approx. 120 litres per head per day – a success story made possible by sanitary equipment, economical washing machines, a changing industrial structure and modern circular economy systems. So saving even more water only makes sense where the sewers and water infrastructure are working to sufficient capacity. On the other hand, sprinkling the lawn in summer and warm water are two things we should be economical with wherever we are – the climate, the groundwater level and our wallets will thank us. The world has become a complicated place. Our longing for more unadulterated naturalness can only be satisfied by a return to the simple life up to a point, as the debate about the import-related consumption of “virtual water” shows. The way back to nature is thus paved with a culture of reduction and conscious consumption, as well as quality products with a high degree of technical sophistication. At the same time, the good old compost heap certainly has its cultural justification again.