Ethical bottled water is an oxymoron

Agriculture & Food, Money, Sustainability, Systems thinking

‘How Bad For The Environment Can Throwing Away One Plastic Bottle Be?’ 30 Million People Wonder

All agreed that disposing of what would eventually amount to 50 tons of thermoplastic polymer resin wasn’t the end of the world.

“It’s not like I don’t care, because I do, and most of the time I don’t even buy bottled water,” thought Missouri school teacher Heather Delamere, the 450,000th caring and progressive individual to have done so that morning, and the 850,000th to have purchased the environmentally damaging vessel due to being thirsty, in a huge rush, and away from home. “It’s really not worth beating myself up over.”

“What’s one little bottle in the grand scheme of things, you know?” added each and every single one of them.

Source: The Onion, again

In other news, please please please please don’t buy or drink commercial bottled water. It’s such a patently ridiculous idea, which consumes so many resources so utterly unnecessarily to deliver something which is cheaply and abundantly available that it brands anyone who drinks it as a naive idiot. Like driving your children half a mile to school in a Hummer, it’s only really justifiable if you’re in an desert war-zone.

And please don’t come back with that “but they give their profits to charity” plea. Unless of course you have £100,000 and would like to invest in my ethical landmine company? We’re going to change the dirty world of weapons by working at it from within. Biodegradable plastics which only start decomposing once the product has been used, and fair-trade, recycled explosives! (We’re providing as many as TEN jobs for Congolese amputees, just another of the ways we’re changing this dirty business! Even our workforce of amputee employees will be sustainable!)

Ed Dowding

Ed Dowding

Founder, strategist, writer, gadfly, TED talker, world-record holder, and (foolishly) reality-TV farmer. DOES: Innovation, Product, Advocacy THINKS: Regenerative Systems, Institution design, 300 year horizons


  1. Thanks for commenting! Next time please would you (a) leave your name and / or email so that we can keep the conversation going? (b) make a coherent point so it’s worth keeping the conversation going?

    My point is that if you buy bottled water, I think you’re being irresponsible. An error of omission is not as culpable as an act of malice. It would be fair to think that doing something everyone else does, but a little bit nicer – like buying bottled water – moves your action from being “acceptable” to “actually rather considerate”. I would argue that it moves your action from being “unnecessary and inconsiderate” to “unnecessary and inconsiderate, but well intentioned and probably just not aware of all the facts”.

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