Conor talks about changing our lifestyles in this week’s “Off the Leash.” I think he expresses quite an introspective mind, and I enjoy reading his column each month.

Changing a life-long habit — such as overeating or wanting to drive a big, gas-guzzling vehicle — requires re-thinking. And re-thinking many times requires a set of “tools.”  Oftentimes these tools replace thoughts we learned as children. For instance, when I eat out, most often the portions fill the plate.

Instead of subconsciously thinking, “Eat everything on your place; there are children in [insert third-world country] starving to death,” I often consciously “think” and ask the restaurant server to bring a to-go box when the food arrives and put half in it for another meal at home.  No seeing, no tempting.

When you are consciously thinking — what I call acting vs. reacting — you begin to change lifestyles and behaviors.

If we consider ourselves in a drought, we likely will change our water-saving actions, but only temporarily. Yet, as Conor pointed out, some Australian residents consider their arid environment permanent. They’re not in a drought.

Consider our average precipitation of 26 inches a year compared to 59 for Tallahassee, 43 for Boston, 39 for Kansas City and 45 for Houston.

(, figures are rounded.)

These figures cover  30 years (1981 to 2010) so how likely do you expect any significant climate change toward more precipitation here in your lifetime?

When we use terms such as “drought” and “stages 1, 2 and 3,” we show a yo-yo mentality. Instead, we need to always be thinking in terms of water conservation in these mountains.

Becky Clark,