Friday, November 09, 2007

Thirsty America

A South African events organizer catering to an international clientele once told me that his company always makes sure that there is an abundance of bottled water available for his American customers.

"Americans are a thirsty people who need to carry around bottles of water everywhere they go," he said.

I nodded my head knowingly while we laughed with unmistaken sarcasm. There is, after all, something very strange and selfish in the manner that many Americans carry bottled water on their persons.

But what exactly does 'water bottle in hand' say about consumption, America, and Americans?

I think these passages on bottled water from the Mail & Guardian and How Stuff Works indirectly answers almost all of the question for me:

1. In terms of its effect on the environment, bottled water leaves a huge carbon footprint, according to research carried out in the US. Making bottles to meet Americans' demand for bottled water requires more than 17-million barrels of oil a year -- enough fuel for more than a million US cars for a year -- and generates more than 2,5-million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

2.And almost 90 percent of bottled-water bottles end up in the trash or on the ground, not in recycling bins. They can take up to 1,000 years to degrade, and when they do, they can leak harmful chemicals into the ground, contaminating ground water.

3.But lack of recycling isn't the only issue. Of the roughly 10 percent of bottles that do get recycled, most aren't much help in offsetting the energy consumed and pollution produced by the original manufacturing and transportation process.

Wow what a greedy appetite hey? A thirsty, hungry, and greedy need for more and even more!

So I guess the developing world should begin to worry about America's thirst for water.

Well really worry because we already know all about its thirst for oil.


Eugene said...

According to an interview of an activist group around bottled water, the two biggies, coke and pepsi get theirs out of the tap. Much of the time the water is less healthy. The mark up is something like 800 or was it 8000%. Basically, corporations make a megaton of money off of this stuff. Which is why they want to steal everybody's water. Which is probably why, when the time comes, they'll start wars over stealing other peoples water. Hopefully, they'll run out of oil before the great war machine by then.

Ridwan said...

You are right brother Eugene. The bottle is the fixation and the false promise that the water is cleaner and healthier.

It is a capitalist preoccupation. To repackage and sell value to the delusional.

So the poor drink water from the same source but with much less environmental impact.

I think you are right about future wars and water. And if we continue down this capitalist trap we will be in Guantanamo because this Empire wants to own all the rivers too.

Be well brother!