[With this blog post I am participating in Blog Action Day 2009 which is an annual event every October 15th that unites the world's bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking discussion around an issue of global importance. More info at BlogActionDay.org]
Starting with the least common denominator, in all lifestyle diets consisting of liquid and solid food is water. In this issue of e.a.r.t.h.food I will attempt to reveal the best water choices based on our human health systems and our collective planetary health. I will not explore showering vs. bathing, cold vs. hot settings on the washer or automatic sprinklers running while it's raining (that's for you, AC). I leave those topics to the experts. I'm simply exploring the liquid food we call water, though there is some cross-over with water as agent vs. food material when "70% of freshwater [is] being consumed by agriculture." (Wikipedia)
A human can survive on average 3 to 5 days without water, assuming all other variables are temperate. According to the U.N. children's agency UNICEF, polluted water and lack of basic sanitation claim the lives of over 1.5 million children every year, mostly from water-borne diseases.
So in order to survive, we need roughly one gallon of adequately cleaned water per day (directly from water itself or the water naturally inherent in fresh fruits and vegetables.)
Easy enough? Not when mega-corporations want to convince you that tap water is unclean and potentially dangerous to your health then package and sell you all your safe, clean drinking water.
All packaged water - bottled large or small in plastic or glass - is politically and environmentally a poor choice. The toxic plastic chemical bisphenol A or BPA (an environmental estrogen linked to reproduction and brain development disruption) may leech into the water during storage and transport. Drinking water from plastic bottles made with the toxic chemical BPA increases urinary levels of the chemical by nearly 70 percent, according to a study conducted by researchers from Harvard University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If not recycled, a plastic bottle can take 400+ years to decompose in a landfill. While glass is a cleaner material than plastic to manufacture and recycle, it can take 500 years for it to decompose in a landfill. Not to mention the transportation of such bottles requires an enormous amount of energy.
But we've been buying the bottles because 1. it's healthier than soda, 2. it's convenient and 3. we've been told tap water is dirty and bottle water is clean. We generally feel like we're doing something good for our health when we buy bottled water.
Relying on private companies to provide adequate drinking water is precarious. Sometimes bottled water is just tap water and oftentimes the bottled water industry is less regulated than municipal water systems. I would like to see more effort made by citizens to encourage municipalities to improve the quality of their local tap water. We've been made scared of tap water, and in some locations rightfully so. In some US towns like this one, it is unsafe to use, let alone drink, publicly provided water.
"The New York Times estimates that the Clean Water Act has been “violated more than 506,000 times since 2004, by more than 23,000 companies and other facilities, according to reports submitted by polluters themselves.” Pollution includes pesticide exposure, high levels of industrial solvents like tetrachloroethylene (which is linked to kidney damage and cancer), and liquefied animal feces from dairy fields (that then seeps into water wells)."
"Corporate Accountability International has started a "Think Outside the Bottle" campaign to promote, protect and ensure public funding for our public water systems. That means challenging corporations who undermine public confidence in tap water. It also means working with public officials, faith groups, restaurants, celebrities, campuses, and individuals to support public systems by opting for tap over bottled water."
Cleaning up our public water systems so that we can safely drink from the tap in reusable containers is the ideal solution for our health and for the health of the planet. Until your public water supply is as clean as you require, consider installing a tap filter, a house-wide filter, use a filtering pitcher or perhaps your fridge has a built in filtered water dispenser to utilize. You may need to employ an alkalizing, ionizing or reverse osmosis device to cleanse the water to your standards if you're aiming to ride treated water of chemicals like chlorine and fluoride. Avoid plastic receptacles whenever possible, especially when hot water (heated electronically or by the sun) is involved.
Only when we support a clean public water system by demanding it and by using it will it become a nationwide asset belonging to its citizens. And when we value clean water for every citizen then can we begin to help resolve disgraceful water situations around the globe. Luckily there are inventors tirelessly at work creating ingenious devices like the LifeStraw and the LifeSaver Bottle. Please consider supporting the foundations that make these devices available to those who live where clean water due to lack of basic sanitation is unavailable. Everybody has the right to access clean drinking water. Everybody.
Live Light, xo-C.
Further Resources:US Bottled Water Sales Down Slightly. Why Are So Few Willing To Change?
(This post was originally published, and is under copyright protection by, ThePositiveObserver.com)