The Green Man Says: H2O

part of an ongoing series of columns I’ve written for the TU Rambler; reprinted here in full (instead of the trimmed-down snippet of drivel they published under my name).

September, 2009.
Let’s talk about water.

We can’t live without it; it quenches thirst better than Gatorade, and apparently, it’s on the moon.  For most of us living in the First World, it also comes out of the tap for free.  And yet, for some reason or another, lots of people insist on buying bottled water.  I’m sorry, but am I missing something here?  You pay money…for something that you could get for free…that you can only use once. Meanwhile, people in Fiji live under a military dictatorship, suffering from typhoid and without access to clean drinking water.

This really puzzles me.  Fiji Water sells for almost three times as much as regular bottled water, is now our country’s #1 imported water, and yet is considered by many to be a “green” bottled water because the company that owns it contributes to liberal and progressive causes (like, for example, John McCain).

Fiji Water is put into heavy bottles (fresh-made with Chinese plastic) in a diesel-fueled factory in a town where the water is considered “unfit for human consumption”.  Bottled water is wasteful enough, but the very fact that this “green” water has to come across the ocean on a gas-guzzling cargo ship makes this a huge steaming pile of hypocrisy. Maybe politicians who are having trouble ending our addiction to foreign oil should start smaller and instead try ending our addiction to overpriced, greenwashed bottled water.

So, you might ask, how can we help solve the bottled water problem?  It’s simple—don’t buy it.  Ask your grandparents how they got through their days without their bottle of Evian or Aquafina or Fiji.  They didn’t, because such a thing would be totally preposterous to them, and it should be to us, too.  Buy a reusable Nalgene bottle from the campus bookstore, and then go over to the water fountain or the faucet (last I checked, every building on campus had running water; just be grateful you don’t have to pump it by hand), and fill ‘er up!  Commit to using your reusable bottle, and start making sustainability the new standard.


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