Monday, December 14, 2015

Take back the tap for ‘environmental justice’

Ashland Food Co-op in Ashland, Ore. has eliminated the
sale of single-serving bottled water.
Photo from the Ashland Food Co-op website, 
Continuing with my suggestion that a nonprofit organization focus on individual impacts as part of an “Environmental Justice” campaign, “taking back the tap” could be another essential plank in an “Environmental Justice” platform.

A few years ago, my family decided to stop purchasing single-serving bottled water. Instead, we use refillable stainless-steel bottles, which we frequently refill from the tap.

From The Story of Stuff’s “Story of Bottled Water” bottled water costs 2,000 times more than water from the tap, and is a product of what narrator Annie Leonard describes as “manufactured demand."

Ad campaigns promote pristine mountain scenes, but many bottled water manufacturers fill their bottles from the tap. Bottle manufacturing and shipping also exert a cost, as does the need for disposal.

One striking image from the video is a “mountain” of single-serving water bottles, discarded in California, which ended up in India. Definitely a reality check for those idyllic mountain landscapes.

The bottled water industry commodifies a natural resource that ought to be a basic right. Ceasing to purchase single-serving bottled water sends the message that we reject this commodifization and its environmental costs.

So once again, as I declared in prior correspondence about an “Environmental Justice” campaign, personal actions need to be the centerpiece of any “Environmental Justice” initiative, even while pursuing fairer policies and wider societal shifts.

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