Published on This Blue Dot | can save a lot (http://www.thisbluedot.ca)

Leading by example

By stuart
Created Oct 17 2011 - 8:45am

The first time I spoke with Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson [1] about One Change’s water conservation campaign was in January 2011 at his New Year’s Reception. One Change [2] had been invited to set up a booth to hob nob with some of the hundreds of people who filed in to share some cheer with the popular mayor.

When I handed Mayor Watson (who prefers to be called Jim) the tiny packet that contains the vegetable dye tablet, and explained our concept for the campaign, he didn’t hesitate. “Stuart, I’m ashamed to admit it, but I have two toilets at home that run and run. I turn them off when I’m not using them.”

I immediately thought, “I like this guy.” This is Jim Watson’s second time as Mayor. He has a populist style that’s very down to earth. Everyone knows who Jim is, but I’ve been within earshot of him enough times at events to notice that he always approaches strangers with the same self-effacing greeting, “Hi, I’m Jim Watson. Mayor of Ottawa.”

So when the Mayor of Canada’s Capital confessed that he had two leaky toilets, it wasn’t all that surprising. It was just the truth.

I didn’t think of this again until our This Blue Dot campaign was launched this past weekend at the Ottawa EcoFair [3] at Carleton University [4]. I was talking to some volunteers about the campaign when a familiar voice called out to me from behind my back.

“Hey, Stuart! I got my Blue Dot!” I shook his hand and thanked him. And as this photo was about to be taken, he leaned in and whispered, “And I fixed those leaky toilets.”

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