By Valerie Jaffee
When I began the year with the resolution to reduce my global warming pollution, I was hit with the glaring reality that it was going to be a lot more work than I thought. The produce in my fridge is grown all over the U.S. and transported to me by fossil fuel-burning trucks, I forget my reusable bags at home, and yes, I confess, I turn on the furnace to heat my apartment in the winter (it’s cold in San Francisco!). Still, being environmentally conscious is not an all-or-nothing proposition and I know I’m making progress.
Too often people are intimidated by the prospect of completely changing their lives to reduce their energy use and curb climate change, making them shy away from taking the first steps. Even my parents still scoff at me for suggesting that they scale back the inferno of lights in their living room. Others still buy into the belief that their efforts just won’t mean enough to matter.
While It’s no secret that we need large-scale changes to help us transition to a clean energy economy and curb climate change, every little effort makes a difference not only for the planet, but also for our health, our economy, and future generations. And the results of each of our actions can and do quickly add up.
Nowhere is this more evident than with the issue of bottled water. So, in the spirit of small changes, how about reducing your pollution by putting down the bottle.
With World Water Day right around the corner, it’s about time that we confronted our bad habit of drinking bottled water. Americans buy 29 billion bottles of water per year – bottles that are made from petroleum, travel thousands of miles thanks to the burning of fossil fuels, and eventually end up in landfills or our oceans. A new documentary, Tapped, made by the producers of Who Killed the Electric Car and featuring NRDC’s Adrianna Quintero, gives some pretty startling statistics that might make you put down the bottle for good:
-- 18 million barrels of oil are used to transport water every year. (That’s oil that keeps us dependent on petro-dictators around the world).
-- There is virtually no testing for bottled water. One person (that’s right – one) is responsible for overseeing all of the regulation of bottled water in the U.S.
-- Only 20% of bottles actually get recycled. Un-recycled bottles often end up in the oceans, adding to a dead zone of plastic that is already twice the size of Texas and growing.
Our tap water, on the other hand, is well monitored, isn’t shipped thousands of miles to your local grocery store, and can save you money. To learn more about how your bottled water could be affecting your health, take a look at NRDC’s report Pure Drink or Pure Hype. You might be surprised by what bottled water companies get away with while convincing us that their water comes from the purest of mountain springs.
I hope that you’ll join me in making the easy choice to reduce your pollution. Pledge here to reduce (or end!) your bottled water use. Tap into your environmental side.
Original post on NRDC Switchboard.