Environment and Society

Chapter 15: Bottled Water

  • average person can spend hundreds of dollars in bottled water when they already pay for tap water (significantly less expensive) through taxes
  • turned from a common property of communities to a marketed commodity for the elite
  • bottled water has a mentality surrounding that it is safer than tap or has has added health benefits, but this is not true
  • consumption of bottled water continues to rise globally, with the leading consumer as the United Arab Emirates, then Mexico, some European countries, and then the United States
  • Packaging and transporting is environmentally damaging: bottled water requires additional water as well as petroleum and carbon dioxide
  • Water bottles typically end up at landfills
  • In a report in 1999 by the NRDC, they discovered about 1/3 of bottled waters were simply packaged tap water
  • Bottled water in some cases is less safe than tap water: Tap water must meet the strict regulations of the EPA, where bottled water is regulated by the FDA, which can provide loopholes for bottled water

I really enjoyed the chapter on environmental ethics. I believe ecocentricism makes sense, personally and logically. Humans rely on the health of the planet to survive in the long term, so I think putting emphasis on that interdependence we share should simply be logical. Looking past the short term acquisition of material goods in place for the longevity of the planet can ensure a better quality of life for everything, and I think society needs to start moving past the “growth for the sake of growth” phase. I also agree with the equal consideration of animals, and that minimizing suffering should be an ethical decision.

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