Tap Project 2009 – PSA-a-thon Series

drinking water, outreach, PSA-a-thon Series, sustainability, united nations, water availability

Folks, it’s that time again. Time for another Public Service Announcement for the PSA-a-thon Series. Our fourth PSA in the series couldn’t be more timely. This PSA recognizes the upcoming TAP Project by UNICEF during World Water Week from March 22 to March 29, 2009. This project aims to raise money during the week in a simple way – ask restaurants to sell tap water for 1$ instead of bottled water. All proceeds raised will help UNICEF provide clean drinking water to children throughout the world. Did you know that 1$ can supply one child with safe drinking water for 40 days? So, check out the PSA. If you like it, get involved. Be a volunteer in your city and ask restaurants to participate, coordinate a walk for water, or raise money at your workplace.

Be sure and check out the first three PSAs featured in the series on rainwater harvesting in India,  the LA Tap Project, and a water-conservation campaign in Denver.

Greenwashing and Water Advertisements

drinking water, drought, economy, outreach, photos

Have you ever seen an advertisement for a product claiming to be sustainable?  Has an advertisement like the one below (by Nestle) ever convinced you that a product is good for the environment?

Above Photo: EnviroMedia Greenwashing Index

As I heard today on Think Out Loud, an advertising organization called EnviroMedia Social Marketing and the University of Oregon have created a website called EnviroMedia Greenwashing Index to provide a forum for people – you the consumer –  to compile and discuss these types of advertisements.

It’s greenwashing when a company or organization spends more time and money claiming to be “green” through advertising and marketing than actually implementing business practices that minimize environmental impact.

– EnviroMedia Greenwashing Index

A simple search for the keyword water shows several ads that dupe the consumer into thinking a product is sustainable. For example, look at the ad below for cotton – the catch line is “Cotton: the environmentally friendly fiber.” Yet cotton is a water intensive crop often grown in water scarce locations. So do you think cotton is environmentally sustainable?

Above Photo: EnviroMedia Greenwashing Index

Register on the website to comment on this ad or upload more ads that you think have been “greenwashed”.

Quarter of Crude, Please

drinking water, economy, international, investments, outreach, water treatment

A friend asked me the other day, “did you know that it takes about quarter of a bottle of oil to produce one bottle of water?” I didn’t, and he was right.

His simple statement, and I found myself pondering this fact. To be honest, just thinking about the concept of a quarter of a bottle of oil in a beverage container disgusted me. And it further solidified my aversion to plastic bottles.

The production of plastic PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) bottles is an oil (natural gas and petroleum) intensive process. The Pacific Institute estimates the equivalent of 17 million barrels of oil were required to produce 31.2 billion liters of water in 2006. This figure does not include the immense amount of oil used to transport bottled water around the world. (‘Fiji Water‘, oh my).

“The Pacific Institute estimates that the total amount of energy embedded in our use of bottled water can be as high as the equivalent of filling a plastic bottle one quarter full with oil.”

Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It

drinking water, outreach, sustainability, water privitization, water trade

A new book, Bottlemania by Elizabeth Royt, will focus on the complications of bottled water in today’s society. It will be available on May 13, 2008.

The book will address questions such as:

“Who owns our water? What happens when a bottled-water company stakes a claim on your town’s source? Should we have to pay for water? Is the stuff coming from the tap completely safe? And if so, how many chemicals are dumped in to make it potable? What’s the environmental footprint of making, transporting, and disposing of all those plastic bottles?”

For more information on bottled water, see the new Water Page on AlterNet. Tara Lohan, managing editor of AlterNet, has written several articles on the negative implications of bottled water in our world including This Year Give Up Bottle Water for Lent and What Would You Say to Coke’s Executives? (a review of ” a pioneering campaign that gives new meaning to message in a bottle“).

See the Water Books Page at the top of this web-log for more books on water.

Bottled Water: Guilty as Charged


Yes, I am guilty as charged. I had a thing for bottled water. Disgusted by the thought of chlorine and offended by the intrusion of fluoride, bottled water always seemed the better alternative. Fresher, convenient, crisp, and cool… or was it all in my head? Increasingly individuals, especially people in the United States, are drinking bottled water. The problem is that bottled water has less stringent water-quality standards than tap water, and the bottles are amassing plastics found in our landfills, oceans, waterways, and on our planet.

Today, I ran across a campaign entitled Think Outside The Bottle sponsored by numerous organizations across the United States (see the web-page). This is the final straw, so to say. I am finished, through with this farce, this fairytale, conceived by the media that bottled water is better. No more bottled water for me. It is time to take the pledge, and you should, as well. Take the Think Outside The Bottle pledge here.

Photo courtesy of D’Arcy Norman on flickr.

National Geographic and DOW Chemical Company Water Map: a diametric statement?


An interactive map on the National Geographic Website highlights countries around the world and describes water issues each face. But this map is actually an “advertising supplement” funded by DOW Chemical Company, and it also highlights an environmental race they are doing. Because DOW Chemical is a major contributor of pollution throughout the world, you may want to view this map with a discerning eye. No matter, the real usefulness of this link is primarily National Geographic’s list below the map detailing other articles on global water issues:

UN Highlights World Water Crisis

World Freshwater Crisis Looms

Arsenic in Asian Drinking Water Linked to Microbes

Bottled Water Isn’t Healthier Than Tap

How Can Such a Wet Planet Be So Short On Clean, Fresh Water?

Still we cannot fail to appreciate the absurdity of the world’s second-largest manufacturer of chemical and plastics producing such media campaigns. Before closing, let us take a few moments to review a few DOW Chemical Company’s environmental problems: 1) gas leak at Union Carbide in Bhopal, India, 2) far-reaching dioxin contamination, and 3) production and distribution of harmful pesticides. If you would like to learn more about DOW’s activities resulting in environmental degradation, see this publication Dow Chemical: Risks for Investors – report from Innovest Strategic Value Advisors published by The Innovesters Group and The Dow Accountability Network.