Saturday, April 10, 2010
There is no clearer illustration of the capacity of marketers to manufacture demand than the current obsession with bottled water. I've been given bottled water by poor farmers at the top of a mountain in Guatemala, and it has become a requirement for conferences and guest speakers anywhere in the world. People who had not heard of bottled water a generation ago will now pay the equivalent of 5 to 8 dollars a gallon for it.
In the Story of Bottled Water, Annie Leonard explains how this has come about, what is wrong with it, and what to do about it. The human and environmental costs are huge for a few minutes of convenience, so much of the answer revolves around finding ways to make safe water convenient, as it should be. This is one of the goals, incidentally, of the proposed Ben Linder Cafe at Bridgewater State College will be to eliminate the demand for bottled water in the new science building ... as a step toward eliminating it campus-wide.
Bottled soft drinks are no better -- they are essentially bottled water with high-fructose corn syrup, which itself is a menace.
I look forward to explore the rest of the Story of Stuff web site for more of Annie Leonard's straightforward and light-hearted descriptions of critical issues surrounding resource use.