Growing up I was incredibly lucky to have live on a hill overlooking Seneca Lake in the Fingerlakes. In fact, anyone growing up in that region was lucky. We had pristine water to boat on, creeks to swim in, wetlands to survey, and (most of us) even had our own wells to get drinking water from. It is because of this that most people in the Finger Lakes appreciate and trust water directly from a natural source. In fact, the only bottled water my parents ever bought was seltzer for special occasions! Some, however, aren’t so lucky to have grown up around the Finger Lakes. For those unlucky masses,however, God created bottled water on the tenth day and it was good.
The interesting thing about the “bottled v. tap” water debate is that, in my experience, I’ve found that your parents treatment of tap water seems to play a large role in what side people place themselves on. I had parents who always placed tap water in front of us without any worry that it would cause us cancer or gangrene. However, if your parents had you drinking from a filter all the time, and you only saw tap water being used for the toilet, sink, or shower, it wouldn’t be surprising if you began to form the opinion that tap water is only worthy of washing away filth, but not good for consumption.
Although it is true that almost one billion people worldwide lack access to safe water (http://www.water.org), the United States is near the bottom of the list of those countries affected. Furthermore, many studies show that city tap water is actually healthy. So, if not simply for the fact that our parents told us to drink bottled water, where did this bottled water obsession come from?
Annie Leonard, the author of The Story of Stuff, has one theory that is pretty darn interesting. She believes that it was “manufactured demand,” facilitated by the companies behind that sell bottled water. The demand is manufactured by basically scaring people into believing their tap water is dangerous through very well-funded advertising campaigns. While I’d recommend reading her book… or perhaps I could write more details here… I realize that none of us have the time for that now. So, YOU TUBE to the rescue! Below is a link to a wonderful video Annie Leonard created, outlining her bottled water theory. It is worth a look!