1. Water Conservation
- Bucket Showers: Before traveling to India, I had heard many a story about the "bucket shower" and wasn't quite sure what awaited me in the bathrooms of India. For those unfamiliar with bucket showers, you basically fill a 5 gallon bucket with water and use your hands or a large cup to pour water over yourself as you wash (I guess you could dispense with the cup altogether and just pour directly from the bucket, but this is difficult when the bucket is full). In places where water temperature and pressure can be unreliable (this includes not only some of the places I stayed in India, but also my apartment in Virginia), the bucket shower not only saves A LOT of water, it also results in better control of water temperature and how well you can rinse shampoo and soap away.
- Reminders: Travelers in the US and Europe are probably quite familiar with the signs in hotel rooms asking that you conserve water by not requesting your sheets and towels be washed and replaced each day - you'll find the same thing in India. However, many places take such requests a step further and frame such reminders in the context of the landscape - for example, Rajasthan is a desert state, so saving water has local benefits. In addition, the suggestions go beyond just linens - travelers may also consider steps such as turning the water off when brushing teeth or shaving, taking shorter showers, and flushing the toilet less often.
- Autorickshaws, taxis, and other vehicles that run on compressed natural gas. India's road are PACKED with all manner of transportation, and an increasing amount is motor vehicle traffic. In Delhi, Agra, and elsewhere, the entire fleets of autorickshaws and other for hire transportation have switched from diesel and gasoline to compressed natural gas. As a result, less particulate matter and fewer greenhouse gases are released into the air, and air quality in cities is already improving (although still not great).