The demise of the world as we know it will not come from nuclear war or terrorism or cataclysmic natural upheavals. It will come from those tiny plastic water bottles that hold a few ounces of water. I can’t think of a single reason to promote the making, selling and buying of these insults to our fragile ecology, and yet they keep showing up everywhere.
I ranted to the elementary kids on Earth Day about them and told them how at our very school, there was once a Middle School Dance with two boxes of these tiny water bottles that held a mere 4 to 6 ounces of water. Kids would open them, take a few sips, not even finish them and throw them away. And where were these bottles? Right below the drinking fountain!!
The other night I went to a high school production of the musical Urinetown. The theme was—drought! And political resistance to bad decisions around it. The liner notes raved about how enlightened these high school kids became about the issues of water, sustainability, shared resources and such. It was an uplifting thought until I went to the lobby at intermission and there they were— a box of these tiny plastic water bottles!! Hello?!!!! Feeling the irony here?
And then the next day went to SF Jazz to give a jazz workshop for kids and right by the piano? Five tiny water bottles for the band. Are they following me around? Has someone discovered my pet peeve and tracked all my movements?
I told the kids that when bad decisions like this are made, there are five possible solutions:
1) The company making them sees that it’s irresponsible and stops. (Ha!!)
2) The stores selling them consult their conscience and refuse to stock them. (Ha!)
3) People individually decide not to buy them. Getting better. If enough do it and there’s no profits for stores or manufacturers, then things can change. Organized boycotts carry this individual choice into collective action and that helps as well.
4) Politicians can outlaw them. (It happened locally in Concord, Mass.)
5) All of us can become better informed. This tidbit from the Ban the Bottle website:
It takes 17 million barrels of oil per year to make all the plastic water bottles used in the U.S. alone. That’s enough oil to fuel 1.3 million cars for a year.” In 2007, Americans consumed over 50 billion single serve bottles of water.
This just might become my personal cause. I hereby pledge that any meeting or workshop of public event that I attend that serves these tiny water bottles will be obliged to listen to me rant and rave for 10 minutes non-stop— or at least until I need to refresh my voice by drinking an entire water bottle.