It’s no secret that if today’s golden commodity is oil, tomorrows will be water—the most critical commodity of all. That’s why water is called “blue gold” and why bottling companies nation-wide have been quietly buying up the water rights from sea to shining sea.
The evidence is growing that already bottling companies like Pepsi and Coke are competing for municipal supplies of water as the privatization of our water resources continues at an escalating pace. Part of the problem is that even more than we’ve taken oil for granted—despite clear warnings starting in 1976–we’ve assumed the earth has a near endless capacity to provide water for use. We also assume the earth has a endless capability to clean the water we spoil.
For example, consider the ubiquitous American lawn. We continue to use tons of toxic poisons to keep lawns green without much concern that the toxins from weed-killers impact our underground water supplies nationwide.
Will we have the water we need to support the dramatic population growth the world is experiencing? How will increases in global temperature impact our depleated water tables? These are critical concerns and individuals can play a role in addressing them. It isn’t always “they” that should do something.
What can we do? My Green Mind thinks for starters that individuals can reduce the consumption of water purchased in plastic water bottles. Every bottle you don’t purchase lowers the reward paid to private enterprises. The bottled water industry will make one bottle’s profit less for pumping billions of liters of water annually from underground aquifers–only to sell it back to us. What is more you will reduce by one bottle the growing waste from millions of plastic water bottles. (Did you know we use 1.5 million barrels of oil annually to produce those bottles just for the US market?) Did you know that most of those bottles contain polycarbonate and bisephenol, toxic chemicals that are dangerous. Instead, carry metal water bottles filled with tap water, which incidentally is almost always cleaner and purer despite the myths to the contrary. If you need to purchase water in a plastic bottle, don’t refill or reuse your bottles as that only increases your health risk from toxic chemical exposure.
Finally, and perhaps most controversially, My Green Mind thinks it’s time we rethink our landscaping beauty standards. Maybe the time-honored American standard of the beautiful, treeless lawn should have seen its day, since to maintain that unnatural look requires that we dump toxic chemicals in the form of weed killers by the ton. Maybe we should allow the native plants indigenous to our respective areas to flourish and replace our lawns. What’s wrong with trees and natural grasses, and a more forested look around our houses—depending on what our respective areas grow naturally? Surely we need to plant more trees. Or, how about using natural, non-toxic weed-reducing alternatives while doing away with the chemical lawn treatments that poison the water table?
The alternative to inaction—and this is absolutely on the horizon—will be that though we’ll be driving electric cars in the future—we’ll instead be paying $6.00 a gallon for the water we drink. It’s coming. Do you have reason to think the bottling industry will be more altruistic than the oil companies?
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