Is there a Genie in the Bottle – and is it a No-Go?

Posted on October 15, 2010


Commodities and consuming are a mix of habits, lifestyle, popular ideas and dominant opinions. This mix is changeable over time, but unfortunately not overnight. Decades went by before we would call cigarettes and sunbathing no-gos – and in some situations we’ll still give it a go. What about bottled water, will we ever see water bottles wear stickers saying: “consuming this, you’re producing toxic waste!” ?

Body meet Planet, Consumer meet Commodity
It seems to me that we only change our minds, when we discover that something has a direct deadly impact on our body. But when we’re told that something is killing the planet, we tend not to listen. Look at this conversation between A and B:

A: “Water is scarce!”
B: “Well, I still see it running out of my tap…”
A: “The bottles from bottled water demand crazy amounts of oil to produce and leaves toxic waste afterwards!”
B: “Well, a lot of things does…”
A: “You know, that kind of sun tan gives you cancer, man!”
B: “What!? oh, my god…but it still looks good, huh?”

So could A and B discuss forever. And so can I discuss with myself sometimes.

I know that my T-shirt might have required two pounds of pesticides to produce (but it was so cheap) and I know that the minerals used to produce my cell phone might come from civil war connected mines in Congo (but there was no alternative in the shop). I consider myself as an okay consumer, because I am aware, I take a stand and I try to find alternatives where I can. But I also know, that the world of commodities is a blurry entity difficult to see through. One thing is clear though: we as consumers are the ones in charge. As long as we demand, we will get.

Is there a Genie in the Bottle?
No, there is no genie in bottled water – it is pure manipulation and fantasy. No matter how many lively springs and beautiful forests decorate the bottles, it is still just regular water. The most characteristic thing to say about bottled water is, that it is contaminating, destructive and much more expensive than tapped water. If you rub the bottled water, all you will get is toxic waste buried in the gardens of the third world. It’s not coming from clean springs and you will not get more energy and beautiful skin by drinking it.

Let’s make A & B respond to this:

Buying a basic thing as water in a plastic bottle is a…
A: “no-go, because I am aware of the destructive cycle of over-consumerism and contamination that the bottled water is a part of.”
B: “go, because I can afford it.”

Choosing bottled water over unhealthy sugar drinks is a…
A: “no-go, because the tap is even better. It doesn’t matter which bottle on the shelf I choose. A bottle is a bottle, and you shouldn’t buy it unless there’s absolutely no alternative”
B: “go, because I like the healthy alternative.”

Is it a No-Go?
B is obviously not aware of the chain of bad consequences that bottled water brings. So we’ll just have to shout it out loud once and for all:
There is no genie in bottled water and it is a huge no-go to drink it!
Still not convinced? Watch The Story of Bottled Water.

Want to know more about water issues of the world? Check out Blog Action Day 2010.

Blog Action Day 2010

Global Voices - The world is talking, are you listening?

Posted in: Water