Take No Prisoners

Canadian University Bans Bottled Water

In the latest display of misplaced enviro-consciousness in Canada, a university, a school board and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities are pushing for bans on bottled water. I know what they’re trying to do. They’re trying to get people to stop drinking bottled water because it’s horribly inefficient compared to tap or filtered water. The only problem is, now you can’t buy something healthy, like water, in a bottle, but you can still buy something unhealthy, like soda, in THE SAME BOTTLE. Does this make sense? No. Will this lead to more soda sales? Probably. Will that contribute to the obesity epidemic? Probably. Will the water from fountains suddenly stop tasting like lead-infused pool water? Probably not. And when was the last time those fountains were cleaned?

Dear Environmentally-Conscious but mathematically challenged bureaucrats,

Please stop with the eco-theatre. If you want to make a real impact, try starting with the things that create the most pollution. Start with the enormous amounts of methane produced by the livestock that satiate our meat addiction (not that meat is bad – we just eat too much of it.) Start by reducing sprawl so people don’t travel as far. Start by improving building codes so we stop building inefficient structures. Start by improving the emissions standards for all the buses and heavy construction equipment spewing diesel fumes night and day. Start with the coal- and oil-fired power plants.

And for fucksake do the math before you open your mouth.


  • H
    Posted March 24, 2009 at 4:44 am | Permalink

    and people think I’m nuts when I tell them there’s a conspiracy to keep people sick and diseased in the name of corporate profits. Eating healthy is bad for business.

  • Michael Wufka
    Posted March 24, 2009 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    I couldn’t agree more. Admittedly, drinking bottled water uses up more resources than drinking tap water. So please reflect these higher environmental costs in the price – which incidentally already happens (bottle deposit, environ fee). If those are too low, increase them. But don’t tell people what to do – let them choose how much something is really worth for them, after making sure that prices reflect the actual costs (including the environment).

    Why don’t Canadian universities ban vehicles with V6 and V8 engines on their campuses? You can do no more with those than you can do with four cylinder engines (there are cars with four cylinder engines that reach 250km/h), yet they pollute the environment much more. Of course I think they should not really do that, instead we should put more taxes on gas (like in Europe) to make people chose after they see the whole cost of their behavior.

    But unfortunately, we only seem to tackle the things that don’t really matter too much (paper cups, plastic bags, bottled water) yet seem easy to fix, but not the harder-to-fix ones that are the really important ones.

  • Posted March 24, 2009 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    @H, the people in charge of the organizations I’ve cited are not in on some grand conspiracy. They’re just confused. If they were actively trying to make people sick and diseased in the name of profit, they’d be doing a lot more. That said, I agree that a case can be made that many tobacco, drug, and food companies do intentionally trade public health for profits.

    @Michael, good points. Glad I finally touched on something you agree with 🙂

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