Environmental science at a small college is my thing. I lecture on important topics that are relevant to the sustainability and to the persistence of this human condition. Every year, I see the pendulum swinging back and forth on important issues; I see it on the faces of my students and I read it in the lines of their papers. This has been a fairly good year, so far. Amongst my students climate change is more or less a given. There are a few dissenters, but by and large most are on board despite the enormous media campaign to paint the dramatic and devastating winter on the east coast as not a sign of global warming, but rather of global cooling. This tells me that things are not as bad as they sometimes seem.
Yet, there are outliers and anomalies to reconcile this with. For example, this was a year that clearly bucked the trend in terms of students’ disposition toward plastics and the sale of bottled drinking water.
Despite our overview of the problem of plastics’ persistence in our environment and the resultant Pacific Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean, many students this semester maintained that people consume bottled water because it is either safer or tastes better than water derived from conventional and municipal sources. It, in effect, is simply something we cannot do without.
Neither of these assumptions is born out in reality and regardless of the overwhelming nature of the arguments against bottled water neatly and popularly summarized in ‘The Story of Bottled Water,’ when you step back and look at it from a distance it seems almost incredulous and maybe even patently lunatic that we wander about carrying bottles of water that were sold to us. My wife recently passed this satire on to me and I loved it. ‘The Story of Bottled Water’ follows below, in case you have not yet seen it.
And here is ‘The Story of Bottled Water.’