Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bottles, Bottles Everywhere, Just to take a Drink

In case you've been living under or in a rock for the last year or so, the ubiquitous plastic water bottles that grew into the hands of many affluent humans during the last decade have quickly become Politically Uncorrect (PU) and most of us are seeking better ways to carry a small convenient container of drinking water around with us. I recently bought six stainless steel bottles from a small company named Nubius Organics in Santa Cruz. We will use these at home and while strolling around the 'hood.

Today I read a bolg post by Mellissa Byer, ranting about a new bottled water called Tap'dNY, which is, as the name implies, botlled municipal New York City tap water. What set off Ms. Byer was the claim on the label that "No Glaciers Were Harmed in the Bottling of this Water." What purity this water represents is offset by the greenwashing spin of this marketing BS that ignores the carbon cost of bottling and then trucking any water to a potential consumer.

This great video produced Quest for KQED in San Francisco puts the plastic water bottle in its proper perspective

There is an inexpensive way for managing the taste and quality of the tap water, which, in our neighborhood, is fairly good quality well water from a well field a few thousand feet downstream on the west bank of Coyote Creek at East Santa Clara Street and South Seventeenth Street. We use a Brita brand carbon filter that fits into a two-part pitcher and lasts about a month and costs about $5.00. This company is a subsidiary of Chlorox, the makers of the disinfectant of choice of most water companies to protect the water while it is in the pipelines from microbial growth, but which also give tap water its bad rap, causing a foul taste. So the same company that causes the problem, also profits in removing it. What a great business plan!

But Chlorox was recently challenged to stop manufacturing a plastic-case filter containing expensive activated carbon that was simply (for them) disposable. A woman in Oakland, CA created a website called TAKE BACK THE FILTER and began collecting used Brita filters to stage a political action/press conference at Chlorox Headquarters during a shareholders meeting. This example of Blessed Unrest has now caused this large corporation to agree to start taking back its filters in January 2009, which may soon lead to the redesign of the filter product to make it easier to deprocess and reuse the components. Actually, as noted on Beth Terry's blog site, Fake Plastic Fish, she reveals that Brita's filters sold in Europe are recyclable, but not those manufactured for consumption in the US. Wasup with that?

To read more about tap water filter options, click here.

Never Thirst!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Michael Pollan for Farmer In Chief

I have written several posts on growing food locally. My last post was on the potential demise of food production in the San Joaquin Valley due to all the salt that's in the irrigation water.

Today I watched the PBS video archive of Bill Moyers interviewing Michael Pollan and encouraging him to accept, if offered, the cabinet post of Secretary of Agriculture in the Obama cabinet.

Instead of suffering through more of my verbosity on the subject of local food production, I encourage you to view this two-part video interview.

Never Hunger, Never Thirst!