Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Water, water, everywhere. And yet we import so much to drink.

Maybe if flood water was made de riqueur at the table it would solve two problems at once:) H2O snobbery

Bless. A few weeks ago a piece in Newsnight highlights the fact that the loss of carbon sink through deforestation is in excess of the USA's entire annual output... and it gets just 30 posts, mostly shared billing with the next cold war.

But to worry about the snobbery of bottled water we're up to 130 and counting!

Still doesn't make much sense to me, but for a special non-alcoholic complement to the meal (I'm guessing all are still OK with a nice bottle of Aussie Chardonnay and some airflown whatever, drizzled in stuff and topped with a dusting of more stuff) I'm not sure the tap can quite match the sparkle of a Perrier (sans benzene, of course).

But we seem again to be getting into 'what's necessary' territory here.

As the majority are discussing the affronts endured at a dining venue that is not their home, one could possibly also ask how eco it is shunting one and all to another place to have a meal.

Bigger questions could be directed to those who know about such things as to how such imports are allowed, and what their relative carbon footprints are compared to other food and beverage options. And, if deemed acceptable in the consumer choice chain for sale (and taxing) by the authorities, why there are not better mechanisms to share the responsibility for viable, economic, decent enviROI recycling process amounts all through the delivery chain, from manufacturer (bottler), through consumer (sorry) to reclaim rather than landfill. Of course there are reuse options a wee bit higher up the waste hierarchy, and at http://www.junkk.com we have quite a few and are more than happy to see uploaded lots more.

However, to get with the flow (more water puns, sorry) of this pressing debate, just for personal fun, I have never understood paying for the still variety as I can't taste the difference. And how special an event is with a plastic bottle amidst the setting is also in my view an aspect to consider.

So... a sexy blue fizzy Ty Ant or bulbous green glass Perrier (see them made into gorgeous lights here: http://www.junkk.com/newsarticle.asp?slevel=0z608&parent_id=608&renleewtsapf=97 ) would be sadly missed.

The plastic flatties less so, for sure, though there is quite an industry out there that may have trouble surviving supplying only the needs of those with less comprehensive piped delivery systems. Me, I'd prefer to unemploy a few Amazonian or Sabah loggers before the staff of Pelegrino.

Kill plastics off if that's the priority to save the planet. But be careful what you wish for, as there is plenty more on your table that is really not necessary or ecologically that desirable either, and once the fingers get pointing, who knows where next they may get directed?

Nice to see Newsnight still tackling the big issues though, especially to let pass without much consideration as to why a few days ago the global concert to sort out climate awareness managed to score 1/3 the audience of the one from a sadly missed Princess. I guess it's all about priorities. And ratings.


ADDENDUM - Wow, we're well on our way to 250 posts. Meanwhile, as Dave has kindly been sharing, the whole climate change issue seems to be getting some welcome, if questionably-covered, additional focus.

I'm sorry, but the vast majority of comments in this (water) piece really seem to highlight the problem. A bunch of liberal yuppies arguing about the water they drink at the Ivy, vs. a few more significant issues that most, I'd hazard, won't even entertain forgoing. Yet these are the very minority yapping away at the majority from their pedestals of privilege and, I'm afraid, simply either p*ssing them off or causing a lot of deaf ears to be turned.

I drink bottled water once in a blue moon. And yes, it is usually when I am out and fancy a fizzy complement to a meal when wine is out and I'm driving. Have any of these folk on their high horses considered just how much beer is consumed in inefficient packaging, not to mention the numbers of pints of water required to make one? What's next? Eco-Prohibition?

Such obsession with trivia by the chattering classes is really obscuring the bigger picture I fear.


NEWS FROM: Green Party in England & Wales

Londoners urged to get bottled water off the menu

Londoners are being urged to make a stand for the environment by
rejecting the social pressure which leads to them ordering bottled
water rather than asking for perfectly good tap water. The call comes
after city officials in New York launched a campaign to persuade
people to abandon bottled water.

Londoners drink the bottled water equivalent of just over 1 Olympic-
sized swimming pool per week, of which 25% is imported. Bottled water
is now the world’s fastest-growing drinks sector worth £1.2bn a year
and research shows that it is now outselling coca-cola in London.
Yet, new figures from the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) show that
tap water has improved and now meets stringent quality standards in
99.98% of cases.

Jenny Jones, Green Party member of the London Assembly, has warned of
the damaging ecological impact of bottled water.

Jenny Jones said:

“Londoners need to show some independence and show that ordering tap
water with your meal, or at the pub, is fashionable and the right
thing to do. Selling water in bottles and burning massive quantities
of fossil fuels for its transportation does not make economic or
environmental sense.

“Most containers for bottled water are made from non-degradable
plastics, which take a 450 years to break down when disposed of in
landfill sites. Even glass bottles of water still take a lot of
energy to crush and recycle, whereas all we do with a restaurant
glass of water is wash it up afterwards.”

Notes to Editors (and why not you, dear readers, too):

1. Defra figures on water consumption in London are available here
2. Inspectors said 99.98% of tap samples met industry standards
in 2006, up from 99.96% in 2005.
3. Bottled Water Information Office (BWIO).
4. Jenny Jones is also chair of London Food.

But.... then they should maybe resist the urge to order a perfectly good pint, glass of Chardonnay, Thai prawn...

Then I wonder how many Olympic sized swimming pools of tap water get wasted per minute through leaks.

I know it's a 'better than nothing', but this really smacks of a rather odd rallying cry to get the public on board with, in the great scheme of things, along with oh, say, plastic bags (past and future posts)!

And when people are getting blotto at the drop of a hat, do we really need to make water less attractive (without inferring anything about 'tap', of course).

I think I'm zigging while others zag.

Gaurdian - Let's lose our bottle

We are all members of the blackfoot tribe

I missed seeing this last night, but then I rarely see Corrie with anything more than half an eye open.

DEFRA has launched a £5Million ad campaign aimed at making us all more aware of our carbon footprints. Full story from The Guardian.

Nice use of an excellent Kinks track (Shangri-La), but will the man in the street even understand the ad, let alone the underlying message? Let's see.

The convenient solution?

A clever title for an interesting short film (10mins) from Greenpeace promoting investment in renewables and CHP schemes above the development of any further nuclear power generation capabilites.

Some quite interesting facts & figures appear, not least of which is the scale of government funding in renewables R&D compared to the funding going into existing nuclear waste clean up! A bit of a gobsmacker!

So is it the convenient solution? Well, watch the video and make up your own mind.

My major concern is more, how shall I put it .... the 'inconvenient unkown'; as in, do we actually have the time to develop and deploy large scale new renewable schemes based on things like wave and tidal power, technologies which, as yet, are still very much in their infancy?