Taking Back the Tap with Food & Water Watch
Between Eat Well Everywhere
, The Green Fork
and Cultivating the Web
, the Eat Well Guide strives to provide a comprehensive manual to what goes on a sustainable plate. But what about what’s in your glass? Green Fork blog contributor Kerry Trueman recently posted
her insights on water, agriculture and the bottled water battle – with a shout-out to EWG's partner Food & Water Watch
0 gurus of sustainable activism.
Many loyal adherents to the local food movement do not fully grasp the connection between agriculture and water and, unfortunately, many people remain unaware of the impending global fresh water crisis. According to the World Health Organization
, water scarcity significantly affects one in three people on every continent - a statistic that worsens as water needs rise with population growth, urbanization and increased use by households and industry. Even in the United States, where most people take high-quality, potable water for granted, water managers in at least 36 states are concerned about near-term shortages.
We need to get serious about fresh water conservation, and start protecting this precious resource from pollution and wasteful abuse.
Eating local and sustainably produced food goes a long way in saving water, because large-scale industrial agriculture is disastrously water intensive. But in addition to eating well, we need to start “drinking well,” choosing local and environmentally responsible beverages. What does it mean to “drink local?” The first powerful action you can take is to stop buying bottled water
and start drinking tap water instead. Drinking your local tap water supports municipal infrastructure and the defense of water as a public resource rather than a commodity that is sold off for private profit.
Food & Water Watch's national Take Back the Tap
campaign calls on consumers to safeguard water as an essential public resource. Restauranteurs across the nation are being asked to eliminate the sale of bottled water and serve only municipal tap water instead. From Florida to Oregon, chefs and eateries are helping to educate customers about the benefits of tap over bottled water.
Take Back the Tap lets people in on the fact that bottled water is a scam - one that's detrimental to our environment, our pocketbooks, and our health. A few facts:
- Over 450 million gallons of oil are used to transport water from bottling plants to stores worldwide annually.
- In the United States, plastic water bottle manufacturing exhausts 17 million barrels of oil each year, and the process yields over 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide pollution.
- 80% of water bottles, totaling over 4 billion pounds, are not recycled and end up in garbage incinerators, landfills and the ocean, polluting our soil, disrupting aquatic and land based ecosystems, and creating environmental health problems for humans and animals alike.
- The bottled water industry extracts unsustainable amounts of groundwater, depleting aquifers and lakes; bottles it up in plastic vessels that wreak vast environmental damage; and sell us the water rightfully owned by the public at hundreds of times the price of our municipal tap water.
Why would people spend so much more to buy something that they can get much less expensively? Primarily because the bottled water industry has spent a great deal of money convincing consumers that bottled water is cleaner than what we get from our taps. In fact, however, the purity of bottled water is a marketing myth.
- Regulation: Tap water is actually much better regulated than most bottled water; It is tested more frequently and the test results are a matter of public record.
- Contamination: Plastic bottles leach chemicals into the water they contain, some of which are known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors, yet bottled water is not required to be screened for noxious properties even once after the caps are sealed on.
- Misinformation: You may think that it's from a pristine spring in Poland - but almost half of the bottled water Americans purchase is just reprocessed domestic tap water!
- The smart alternative: Filtering tap water at home can effectively remove any contaminants and unusual taste at a tiny fraction of the price of bottled water.
In New York City alone, more than 100 restaurants have signed on to support NYC’s award winning Catskill water system instead of the bottled water industry. Restaurants have also signed on in Madison, WI, Ann Arbor, MI, Boulder CO, and Memphis, TN. In Gainesville, FL, a group of water activists organized a “restaurant outreach day” during which they asked their favorite restaurants to Take Back the Tap. In the San Francisco Bay Area, over 70 restaurants have taken the Take Back the Tap pledge, and the city of San Francisco Public Utility Commission partnered with Food & Water Watch to encourage restaurants to go bottled water free.Help Food & Water Watch spread the word
by asking a restaurant or business
to take back the tap!Find out more about the campaign: http://takebackthetap.org/restaurantsFind a restaurant near you smart enough to quit the bottled water habit:http://www.takebackthetap.org/restaurants/find-participating-restaurants-near-you/participating-restaurants
Finally, when you’re browsing the Eat Well Guide, look for the
Water Conscious droplet
indicating that the vendor is taking steps to conserve our most precious resource. And if you believe your listing should be marked Water Conscious, contact us
and let us know why!Previous story: Sustainable Seafood...