Here’s a fun fact. Technically, we can never run out of water. The water on earth doesn’t disappear; it stays in continuous circulation through evaporation, condensation, precipitation and incorporation into our bodies and the bodies of other living beings.
HOWEVER….only 1/3 of the planet’s water is fresh, meaning drinkable, versus salty ocean water, and only 1/3 of THAT is accessible to us in rivers, lakes and underground aquifers. If we mess up that water…guess what happens…we have to drink it! So, the good news is that we can never run out of water. The bad news is that the same water keeps circulating, whether it is clean or dirty, fresh or polluted.
Which leads us to this month’s topic: our fascination with bottled water and the tendency to simply toss the bottle after having a drink, unaware of the origin of the water or the destiny of the discarded bottle.
So who decided to put water in bottles to sell? From the earliest times, water has been linked with mystical healing powers, however, the idea of bottling and selling water seems to have originated in the 1760’s with the first documented cases of mineral water being sold for therapeutic benefit.
Since then, the market for bottled water has EXPLODED. Bottled water seems to be everywhere and global sales continue to go up. While there may be some residual allure linking back to the early days of healing spa water, today’s reality may have more to do with marketing efforts promoting bottled beverages over tap water, convenience valued by a mobile society, mistaken impressions of the quality of bottled water and wild under-appreciation of the economic and environmental cost generated by the massive amount of water and plastic being used for brief, thirsty moments and then thrown away.
Be observant. How many times do you just reach for a bottle of water? Where does the bottle go when you are done? Look around. How many of those bottles are filling up trash cans? Very few people actually take the time to recycle their plastic bottles. Consider large public events. How many bottles are bought, sold and tossed? Multiply that by millions of events all around the world.
While considering the scale of the number of plastic bottles being used and tossed every minute, remember that each ONE was used by ONE person. I am always drawn to this idea…the POWER OF ONE. Individual choices add up. If some of those people, or a lot of those people, chose to invest in a reusable water bottle and maybe a simple filter on their counter, how many fewer plastic bottles would there be in the world?