Blog Action Day: Water

Welcome to Blog Action Day! This year’s topic is Water–an issue that should be important to everyone but one that I think most of us here in the US aren’t really aware of.  Blog Action Day is about creating discussion about important issues in our world–each year they choose an issue and bloggers from all over the world post on that topic to generate awareness about the issue.

 

What's the real cost of bottled water?
What's the real cost of bottled water?

We tend to think of water as an unlimited resource–if you’ve ever looked at a picture of the  globe you know that most of the earth is made up of water–how could we ever run out???? However, it turns out that most of that water is undrinkable–we can only readily drink about 1% of the water on earth and much of that tiny percentage is polluted.

Blog Action Day’s website directed participants to sample topics and the one that really caught my attention was the issue of Bottled Water.  I’d never really noticed the bottled water craze until I went to UC Davis–were local legend says that the water in Davis undrinkable.  Sure Davis is famously known for its hard water but its safe to drink from the Tap–I always drank it straight from the tap–well first I got a cup but you get the idea.  When I moved to Davis it surprised me how many people bought cases of bottled water rather than drink from the tap or get a Brita filter–to them bottled ‘tasted’ better (really? water tastes like water to me??) but how much is that bottle of water costing us???

Annie Leonard of Change.org points out that the biggest selling bottled water companies (Aquafina and Dasani) are in fact filtered tap water and that for the purity of bottled water is largely unregulated.  On the other hand, tap water is regulated and actually fairs better in taste tests and purity tests than most bottled water companies.  So those pretty mountains on the side of your bottle–yeah its just a nice picture.  If bottled water isn’t any better for us than tap–why do people spend two bucks on something that’s virtually free??? Well if you check out Annie’s video you’ll see that bottled water companies purposely tried to scare people away from tap water–how else could you get people to pay thousands of times what something is actually worth?? (talk about Keeping Fear Alive!)

In the end we find out that not only are we blowing are hard-earned cash on plastic bottles of tap water but that environmental costs for this luxury are extremely high.  “Food and Water Watch reports that 17 million barrels of oil are needed to produce all the plastic water bottles we use in the U.S. each year — and, shockingly, 86 percent of them will never be recycled.”  (change.org) And where do these unrecycled bottles end up?? Ironically we ship them to other countries that don’t have the same access to clean drinking water was we do!?!

I’ve created the image above in honor of Blog Action Day and the water issue because it shocks me that a place seemingly as environmentally forward as Davis (a thriving farmers market, electric car charging stations in our parking lots, etc) would ignore the costs of drinking so much bottled water! And if the water is truly that bad then why aren’t we spending our time. energy and money to get better water in our taps??

 

Check out:

www.blogactionday.change.org for more information and other important topics about the water issue.

http://environment.change.org/blog/view/annie_leonard_tackles_our_bottled_water_addiction

for more information about the Water Bottle Issues

 

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