CNBC reported this morning on the Sierra Club's new area of attack on human welfare: water, specifically bottled water. Apparently, the Sierra Club believes that companies searching for clean water sources for human beings are committing an egregious sin against Mother Nature. Their website includes this foreboding warning: "Nestle has at least 75 spring sites around the country and is actively looking for more." Horrifying, indeed.
In a recently published brochure, the Sierra Club has this to say about its position:
The bottled water industry promotes bottled water as a healthy, trendy drink, without mentioning that it can cost 1,000 times as much as tap water. The Sierra Club believes that all people should have access to affordable, clean drinking water.While I do not personally value water at a dollar a bottle, and I certainly question how much purer bottled water is compared to tap, others do value it that much, and I'm sure they realize they're paying a little more than they would for tap. The Sierra Club should not pretend as though it actually cares about maximizing access to clean water supplies when the majority of its material and obvious concern is with the production of plastic and growth of industry. What it means that "all people should have access to affordable, clean drinking water" is that people should stay away from the environment, even when trying to access the basic sustenance of life.
Perhaps what is even more incomprehensible is their plan of action for resolving these problems. One solution to bottled water they list is for people to "[u]se containers that you can refill with tap water when you are away from home". It seems to me that plastic bottles don't disintegrate when you add water to them. In fact, they serve as very nice containers for future water use that I know many of my friends actually use them for.
So what is the Sierra Club really saying? "By drinking clean water you kill the environment. Stop drinking water."
For more information on the issue, check out this previous Reason blog.