Q&A: Peter Gleick Weighs in on the Bottled Water Battle
Why do people buy billions of gallons of expensive bottled water in the U.S., a country where most of the tap water is cheap and extremely high quality? In his new book Bottled and Sold, international water expert Peter Gleick looks for answers in the bigger questions about why we buy bottled water, and defines alternatives for the future.
By Circle of Blue
Welcome to Circle of Blue Radio’s Series 5 in 15, where we’re asking global thought leaders five questions in 15 minutes, more or less. These are experts working in journalism, science, communication design, and water. I’m J. Carl Ganter. Today’s program is underwritten by Traverse Internet Law, tech savvy lawyers, representing internet and technology companies.
There’s a war going on over what kind of water you drink–bottling companies have waged a campaign against tap water and it’s paying off, according to Pacific Institute President and MacArthur Fellow Peter Gleick. Why do people buy billions of gallons of expensive bottled water in the U.S., a country where most of the tap water is cheap and extremely high quality? Some consumers don’t like the taste of their tap water. Bottled water is usually readily available, and some companies have launched fear campaigns against the tap, while others produce misleading advertising. But banning the bottle isn’t the solution, Gleick says. Instead, it’s time to take a hard look at the bigger picture to understand why we buy bottled water so as to define alternatives for the future.
Our theme is composed by Nedev Kahn, and Circle of Blue Radio is underwritten by Traverse Legal, PLC, internet attorneys specializing in trademark infringement litigation, copyright infringement litigation, patent litigation and patent prosecution. Join us gain for Circle of Blue Radio’s 5 in 15. I’m J. Carl Ganter.
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As co-founder of Back2Tap, I’ve been working for the past 2 years to raise awareness nationally about the bottled water problem. I am amazed at the number of Americans who are still unaware that drinking bottled water is a problem and who are very reluctant to give it up. Thank you for outlining the four reasons why people are drawn so strongly to bottled water.
I would add that it could also be attributed to our popular culture; we seek immediate gratification and we focus on the individual – wanting an “i” this and “i” that. Plus, there is a serious distrust of government and willingness to let the private sector set up the rules.
In this political climate it will be a tough challenge to bring people around to support investing in the infrastructure we need to avoid a bottled water future. I’d be thrilled to discuss this further with Mr. Gleick.