I recently went out to lunch with a water-smart friend. This friend had in front of him two glasses, both of which he had emptied. One of them had formerly contained water, the other—a Diet Coke. When the busser appeared with a clear plastic pitcher full of ice water, this water-smart friend of mine protested—“No, I don’t need that.” At the root of his protest was neither a full bladder nor irritation at having been interrupted in our Very Interesting Conversation about the Great Southwestern Drought. Rather, he protested on the grounds of conservation. “Can you believe these places?” he said. “The orchards of California are turning into sand dunes, and they want to refill my water!” Just at that moment, our waiter appeared with a fresh glass full of icy Diet Coke and picked up the empty Diet Coke glass to return it to the kitchen, where it would be washed, with water. My friend looked up at the waiter with a polite smile.
“Thank you,” he said.