Thursday, March 25, 2010

More Water: The Story of Bottled Water and a Photo Essay from National Geographic

I was just beginning a really interesting post on the Commonwealth Games--how much it's costing, what it's good for, that kind of thing, when I came down with a stomach bug! Nothing serious, but Yuck--and it's left my mind incapable of much original thought.  But never fear, I've got a solution:  since Monday was World Water Day, let me show you two things about water that you'll want to see.

Next, check out Annie Leonard's latest contribution to the Story of Stuff Project: The Story of Bottled Water.
Like The Story of Stuff and The Story of Cap and Trade, The Story of Bottled Water lays things out simply.  It is aimed at an American audience, and I'd like to see Leonard give India's plastic recycling industry a more thoughtful and sympathetic look than she does here, but if you're trying to produce something that runs just over 8 minutes, then I guess you have to make some hard calls.  All in all, it's worth watching.

Oh and speaking of water, I was recently reminded of the hack job that Open Magazine ran a couple months back.  They recycled press releases and sound bites from right wing American think tanks and well known climate skeptics and made a lot of outrageous claims.  I documented some of that here and some over on their site, here.  Anyway, one of the many bits of good news Open delivered was this: "Another total lie has been that the Sunderbans in Bangladesh are sinking on account of the rise in sea level."  The only problem is, that the sea level is rising--in fact, it just swallowed a small island in the Bay of Bengal

None of us want to think our children's future is in peril; climate deniers are selling a story we all want to believe in: don't worry, it will all be fine.   Even I want to believe that story--even I want to be able to say that to my children.  But the overwhelming amount of scientific evidence suggests we have a great deal to worry about--and that everything will not be fine, not for a very long time, even if we take strong action now.  And if we don't take strong action? Let's save that story for another day.


  1. Fantastic video! Annie Leonard is really doing a great job of making things simple for us and showcasing the reality behind the hype.

    The only place I use bottled water is on trains. In that case, I'm not yet ready to trust the tap water! I remember the days when the only company selling bottled water was "Bisleri" and you could usually find it in stations :)

  2. Curious to know why do you say Annie needs to give Indian plastic/recycling industry a thoughtful and sympathetic look? I think she is not directly pointing at the industry: Maybe she’s hinting at the government and other people who force/bribe them to not recycle. Maybe someone (Indian or American) who has eyed glory/benefits from such un-recycled bottles is feeding notes to the companies in this industry. Or, maybe, she’s not researched the subject well, i.e. such waste is being recycled in India (at some level) and people in the plastic industry are careful to the environment.

    On global warming, even the scientists have been proved wrong recently (though I don't have the details of that news). I have started to dislike the notion of global warming created by these scientists. However, I know something is wrong and I do my bit to support the planet.

  3. Here's a recent article in the Hindu about the struggle against Coca Cola in Plachimada, Palghat, Kerala, where the village panchayat refused to renew the contract for the bottling plant of Coke because they were draining the village of groundwater. It is an inspiring and necessary fight against greedy corporations for the Commons!

  4. @Bhagwad, agreed!

    @Ashishesque, It's a relatively small point, but I'd like Annie to acknowledge that India is by far the most effective recycler of plastic in the world! Having said that, it is true that recycled plastic is always of inferior quality, and the practice of shipping plastic around the world to recycle is wasteful for obvious reasons. For more on that, here are two links about plastic recycling in India:
    As for the global warming, it is true that certain scientists have done things that they should be ashamed of. But when you really look at the issue, what you see is that the overwhelming evidence continues to support the idea of human-driven climate change. I wish it were not true, but there is little doubt of it. I'm so glad you stopped by--hope to see you again!
    Sabitha--Thanks for the link. (And I really need to learn how to put links into the comments of blogger!)

  5. Yes, those two links were useful. Thanks, Hari! Agreed, there're evidences of climate change caused by human activities.
    Btw, I didn't know you responded to my comment until I visited your blog today. I think you need to enable the 'notify via e-mail for comments' option, if there's an option in Blogger. :)

  6. @ashish--glad you came back! I have to figure out if blogger has that function; I see it on Word Press blogs all the time, but I couldn't find it today when I looked. I'm new to the blog machine, though. Nice to meet you, and I enjoyed the slam poetry videos on your site...

  7. I think this link will help you set up 'subscribe to comments by email' function:
    Glad that you liked those videos. Nice to meet you too, Hari! :)

  8. @ashish, thanks! It's down there beneath the comment box. I never noticed it. But I think you have to have a google account to use the email function. Blogger lets readers subscribe to comments for posts with the subscription widget in the upper left corner. I'll keep fine tuning things.

  9. You're welcome, Hari!

    I have a Gmail account--I think almost everyone in the world will have one. :)
    Btw, I suggest you should switch to a free Wordpress platform; personally I think the design and GUI of a site plays a big role in enriching the online reading experience!

    Also, when I select my Wordpress profile, I have to sign in to my blog every time I comment. Can I skip that? I thought it would ask only for the first time. Sorry for bugging you with the things that I hate about Blogger. :)

  10. @Ashish, not sure about the log in issues. Agree that blogger has it's limitations, and I've heard (and seen) good things about Wordpress. But I'll wait until I have a bit more time before considering a switch. cheers,


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