Thursday, February 21, 2008

Against Bottled Water

Attacks on using commercially bottled water are all over the news recently, as I noted a few days ago in Water, Water Everywhere.

In London at his weekly news conference Mayor Ken Livingstone said: "People should be encouraged to ask and feel confident they can ask in restaurants for tap water, rather than have to pay through the nose for bottled water." Several other British politicians have made similar statements. Here in Ann Arbor last summer, the city council voted a resolution against the sale of bottled water at city events. San Francisco has a similar ban. Noises of the same sort rumble from New York City.

"Why is everybody suddenly jumping onto this particular bandwagon?" my friend in London asked me in an email exchange.

I actually don't know, but I find myself thinking: it's easy to pick on bottled water instead of facing the deeper problems of excess CO2 in the atmosphere. There's no political capital expended in attacking bottled water: almost anything else asks people to make real sacrifices. Driving less. Figuring out whether one food or another has an elephant-sized carbon footprint. Even turning out the lights or using creepy florescent light bulbs. Reflecting such ideas in the tax structure. Nuts, let's just go after Fiji Water.

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