GREENtings from New York! (har) – A Tirade on Bottled Water

Greetings from New York, where carbon emissions run high and the trash piles up on the streets (and the public transit is AWESOME! but makes your pants very dirty). Yes, New York is a city of contradictions.

The wealthy streets of Chelsea are littered with clear plastic recycling bags full of Pellegrino and Poland Spring Eco-shape bottles. This is the biggest scam I’ve heard since David Mkwongo offered me $15k of his father’s inheritance so long as I wire him $7k immediately. “Saving resources through design” my foot. Bottled water is bottled water to me, no matter how you spin it, and that means it is an environmentally unfriendly, unfortunate adoption into our culture.

For, as Garrison Keillor said on September 26, 2007:

I am sorry, Evian and San Pellegrino and Dasani and all the other bottled waters out there — Aqua Velva, Wells Fargo, Muddy Waters, Joan Rivers, Jerry Springer, whatever — but the current campaign against paying good money for bottled water when tap water is perfectly good (and very likely purer) is so sensible on the face of it that I am now done with you. Fini. Kaput. Ausgeschlossen. No more designer water. Water is water. If you want lemon flavoring, add a slice of lemon. You want bubbles, stick a straw in it and blow.

My father, a true conservative, would have smiled on this. All his life he resisted the attempts of big corporations to gouge him by selling him stuff he didn’t need and so he was not a consumer of high-priced water, any more than he would’ve purchased bottles of French air or Italian soil. No, San Pellegrino and Perrier got rich off the pretensions of liberal wastrels like moi who thought it set us apart from the unlettered masses. We ordered it in restaurants for the same reason we read books we don’t like and go to operas we don’t understand — we say to the waiter, “Perrier,” to give a continental touch to our macaroni and cheese.

Enough. Man is capable of reform once presented with the facts, and the fact is that bottling water and shipping it is a big waste of fuel, so stop already. The water that comes to your house through a pipe is good enough, and maybe better.

Mr. Keillor, you should have seen W 12th St. For a city that claims that the magic in New York bagels is the water they boil them in…

As a side note, I very much enjoyed the billboards advertising Energy Hog, a website where kids learn about energy efficiency from Inspectors Hector and Irene.


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