Some daily routines are built into our lives and we fail to stop to contemplate why. I never questioned making French toast with orange juice as my mother taught me, until someone told me therecipe actually calls for milk. I never questioned drinking bottled water until a newspaper story revealed the impact of my daily mindless decision.
To probe why an average American chooses bottle over faucet would likely elicit vague responses.
Linfield tries to instill a spirit of critical thinking in its students, from the first day of Colloquium to commencement. And in this spirit, I question: Why do millions of Americans drink bottled water?
The answer: the fitness craze and advertising. It wasn’t always fashionable to wake up early and hit the treadmill. This health trend has brought water to the forefront of national thought. Now, in addition to four Diet Cokes and two cups of coffee, Americans add a liberal dose of bottled water, preferably one with a brand name.
Americans rarely stop to make informed decisions. They have no time to painstakingly weigh the pros and cons of every seemingly mundane and routine decision. America never thought about the consequences of her actions when 24-packs of water began to fly off the shelves atCostco.
Like AIDS without Bono or global warming without Al Gore, bottled water is alone.
No celebrity has come out against bottled water. No politician is trumpeting the end of tap water. No incriminating photos of Dasani and Aquafina in a compromising position have flashed across the grocery store racks.
Only the mayors ofAmerica, a decidedly unsexy group, declared themselves against bottled water for city employees.
I may not be a celebrity, but I do care about Mother Earth. I am writing this to urge you to question your actions. Why are you drinking bottled water?
Is it because it is easier to stay hydrated? Buy a reusable water bottle. It costs the same as four disposable ones, but lastsindefinitely longer. Plus, most are dishwasher safe.
Is it because bottled water is cleaner? Natural Resources Defense Council studied bottled water. Its 1999 study found33 percent of bottled water exceeded state standards for bacterial and/or chemical contamination. Less than half of the bottles were found to be pure. For the full results, visit www.nrdc.org/water.
Is it because it tastes better than tap water? The same study found 25 percent of bottled water is filled from a municipal water source.
Today, 60 million disposable bottles of water will be thrown away. The average American recycles only 22 percent of bottles used.
Though you as an Oregon college student may not be average, you may not realize the impact of your decision.
Even if you toss your used bottle into the new co-mingled recycling bins behind your residence hall, it’s not enough. The production of the plastic bottles uses additional fossil fuels and releases chemicals into the air.
After calling my mother, I now know why I use orange juice instead of milk. Do you know why you drink bottled water?
Defy the expectations of Americans and make a smart decision not to drink bottled water. Save your money for your student loans. Don’t wait for a celebrity to denounce it. Start a grassroots trend here at Linfield and spread it to everyone you know.