The E-mail Commentary from Eco-Justice Ministries
Think Outside the Bottle
I'm going to do a very unusual thing in this year's angry political context, and say something good about a member of the US Senate. A small act of grace in the Senator's office provided a refreshing affirmation of healthy community life.
A few weeks ago, several of us visited the Denver office of US Senator Mark Udall to talk about climate and energy legislation. We had a generally positive and fruitful conversation about that topic of great importance. My good word for today, though, has to do with a simple thing that happened at the start of meeting.
As we were settling around the conference table, the staff asked if we'd like anything to drink. When we said yes, they brought a pitcher of water, and some compostable plastic cups. We were delighted that they did not bring a tray full of those ubiquitous little bottles of water. It they had, I would have left mine untouched on the table. It was a pleasure, that afternoon, to be able to sip pure, cool tap water while we talked politics.
What happens as a matter of routine in an office setting speaks clearly about worldviews and sensitivities. An important message about values and behaviors is communicated by the choice about how a glass of water is provided. I know that my conversation with the Senator's staff got off to a good start because of the simple way they provided hospitality.
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That pitcher of water comes to mind because of some phone calls I've had this week with the organizer for an advocacy campaign that is taking shape in Colorado. "Think Outside the Bottle" is just one of many campaigns -- local, national and international -- urging people to reject bottled water.
This particular project caught my interest because it goes beyond our individual purchasing decisions. Their initiative brings together three intertwined pieces which lead toward a more institutional approach that is both insightful and effective.
Our personal choices to reject bottled water are important. It is also important to address the social messages that demean tap water, and to call for responsible financial decisions by local and state governments -- both in funding of public water systems, and in not wasting money on bottled water.
You can express your support of those "Think Outside the Bottle" stances by signing a form on their website.
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Support for public water supplies over corporate sources is one reason to avoid bottled water. The bottle is another reason.
Last January, the wonderfully sarcastic "newspaper", The Onion, nailed dynamics of the issue with a front-page headline: 'How Bad For The Environment Can Throwing Away One Plastic Bottle Be?' 30 Million People Wonder. The daily actions of millions of individuals, businesses and government offices leads to the generation of massive amounts of plastic, which is rarely even recycled. The all-too-common sight of an empty -- or worse yet, half-empty -- water bottle in the trash or in the gutter can remind us of the inherent waste of this product.
World Water Day is next Monday March 22. Use that occasion to affirm the value of safe and reliable public water supplies, in your community, and around the world. Take a fresh look at your own use of water, and speak out in favor of tap water.
Eco-Justice Ministries * 400 S Williams St, Denver, CO 80209 * Home Page: www.eco-justice.org
Eco-Justice Ministries ended all programming on July 31, 2020. This site is an archive of writings and resources.
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