The Sting: Californians give water to billion dollar companies

Remember the movie The Sting?

Coolest hustle ever. Made the shysters look like heroes. As a kid I thought it was the best con ever. It holds nothing on the con the billion dollar businesses like Coca Cola have pulled off. They are making billions every year, taking water from one of the dry-est states in the US, and selling it to people with plenty of water, causing severe environmental impact while doing it.  Now that’s a con. Californians are the one getting stung, but know it, and continue to give our money over to the corporations who have more of it than we will ever see.

I know it happens. I see it. I just can’t get my mind around it.

Mother Jones helps in that regard:

Bottled-water drinkers, we have a problem: There’s a good chance that your water comes from California, a state experiencing the third-driest year on record.

The details of where and how bottling companies get their water are often quite murky, but generally speaking, bottled water falls into two categories. The first is “spring water,” or groundwater that’s collected, according to the EPA, “at the point where water flows naturally to the earth’s surface or from a borehole that taps into the underground source.” About 55 percent of bottled water in the United States is spring water, including Crystal Geyser and Arrowhead.

The other 45 percent comes from the municipal water supply, meaning that companies, including Aquafina and Dasani, simply treat tap water—the same stuff that comes out of your faucet at home—and bottle it up. (Weird, right?)

But regardless of whether companies bottle from springs or the tap, lots of them are using water in exactly the areas that need it most right now.

I still recall the first time I went to the movies with a pastor friend of mine and they charged us for water. He looked at them increduously and then looked at me and then back at them.

“You want to charge me for water? That’s free right over there in that faucet? … Is this cause I’m black!” he asked.

The idea that we’d pay money for free water was absurd not too long ago. But somehow they convinced us that its absurd to drink the free stuff. Free must equal bad, or unsafe. Perhaps that made sense when the names of bottled waters were exclusively Evian or Perrier because the rich tend to think paying more equals better. But Dasani? Dasani is tap water put in a chemical-laden plastic bottle made of fossil fuels and shipped with fossil fuels to places that routinely have better tasting water than the tap they poured in the first place.


Dasani is Coca Cola by the way. Tap water. By a giant soda maker.

Now that’s absurd. Yet we play along paying billions every year … what’s worse is we KNOW it and STILL do it.

To organicanize your kitchen, I have become more convinced than ever that these are the absolutely vital first steps. I will go so far as to say it is nearly unconscionable NOT to take these steps.

1) Use tap water in the house. Never bring another bottled water in the house again. If you think it tastes bad, then buy a purifying in your home. A simply water pitcher made by Brita will save 300 plastic water bottles.

2) Spend $20 on a good, non-plastic water bottle and start taking it with you, just in case you get thirsty. We use to have water fountains everywhere. Cities got rid of them, like pay phones, because we didn’t use them. So have a spare. If you are one of those who likes water in your car at all times, fill a couple of bottles, put them in a carrier and bingo.

3) If you are like me and like sparkling water invest the $100 for a soda stream so you can make your own. Cut a lemon, blast your tap water in the little machine splash it with the lemon and you have great sparkling water.

That’s it. Remove the environmental blight of water bottles. Remove the cancer causing plastic bottles from your kitchen. Remove the con that tells us we are less than if we don’t buy water that until twenty years ago would have been absurd to buy.

My future grandkids and every other native Californian like me thank you.


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