Friday, October 15, 2010

Message in a Bottle

We never know the worth of water till the well is dry.
~Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, 1732

October 15th is's Blog Action Day and the topic this year is water which is timely because today my kids attended a workshop on the environmental impact of the bottled water industry.
Water has been on our minds a lot lately with today's program, our recent river clean up and a local news story in our about Nestle's "right" to sell our local water and the power that company presumes it gives it within our community to influence programs like the excellent one my kids attended today.

Today's program gave the kids a real perspective on bottled water. Through hands on demonstrations the kids saw how much water (1500 mls) and how much oil (about 150 mls) is used in the production of each typical water bottle (and that is before they fill, package or ship it). They learned about the cost of the water  - just 1 cent to fill it from the tap or 100-200 times that to buy it from the convenience store or vending machine. The learned about the implications for our recycling and landfills from the use of plastic bottles. They heard about threats to our aquifer and local supply - everything from the local Nestle water plant which is extracting and exporting the water for sale to a local mining company which has recently punctured the protective layer which separates our aquifer from surface water contamination.

We are surrounded by water. We spend a lot of time hiking by our river, swimming at the lake at the cottage, canoeing and kayaking at the local conservation area. I have a very hard time imagining what the world will look like in 20 or so years when the fresh water supply has dwindled and is owned by large corporations.

As with anything the first step is to get educated. And the second is to act.

Things you can do with your kids:
Stop drinking bottled water. Buy and use re-usable bottles. They pay for themselves in no time.
Ask your schools, city facilities etc not to sell bottled water
Organize a reusable water bottle buying co-op for your neighbourhood, class, sports team.
Find out the cost implications of water bottles on your recycling program.
Write letters to your editor and mayor to publicize the issue.
Watch the Story of Bottled Water, FLOW, Ryan's Well and other water documentaries to educate yourselves about water issues.
Raise funds for organizations like charity:water
Take part in the World Water Monitoring Day activities,
Do a bottled water taste testing challenge with friends
Do a water audit in your home.

In an age when man has forgotten his origins and is blind even to his most essential needs for survival, water along with other resources has become the victim of his indifference.

~ Rachel Carson

~ A river ran wild : an environmental history by Lynne Cherry,
~ Save water by Viv Smith,
~ Water by Trevor Day,
~ Water : how we use and abuse our planet by Pamela Grant
~ Water supplies by Jude Welton,
~ Keeping water clean Ewan McLeish,
~ Follow the water from brook to ocean Arthur Dorros
~ EPA educational resources for Water
Flow - For the Love of Water

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