By chance, I recieved two articles reporting on bottled water bans in schools today – one about a Catholic school board in Canada and another about universities in the United States. The breadth of this bottled water backlash was impressive: both religious and secular, national and international, collegiate and primary/secondary, and coastal and heartland: Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic School District in Ontario, Canada, Washington University, Brandeis University, Evergreen State College in Washington, and the University of Arkansas.
This does not appear to be a regional fad that is going to fade. Increasingly, educational institutions are joining municipalities in rejection of bottled water and the extreme wastefulness and disconnection from nature that it symbolizes. Dramatic comments posted in opposition to these bans show how polarizing the issue can be and have sparked the following insights from my year of dedication to this pursuit.
Bottled water may not be the gravest problem in our midst and banning it may not be the best approach, but getting people back to drinking tap water is an important positive step toward sustainable living. It is essential for our survival on this planet to start questioning and changing our wasteful habits — drinking bottled water is just one small example of where we have gone wrong. It is an important but easy step people can take on the path to reducing their eco-footprints, but hardly the last. Once a person reduces their consumption of bottled water, they are likely to re-consider many of the other disposable convenience items they consume daily.
Most importantly, when we drink tap water, we are connnected with our environment. Suddenly, we are concerned about where our tap water comes from and what’s in it. We realize that we have to take care of our watershed because we are dependant on it. We tend to think we can live disconnected from nature or by conquering nature, but ultimately we can’t. Let’s get Back2Tap so that we consume fewer resources, reduce our waste and care for our watersheds.