Blogs | Food & Water Watch - Part 112
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September 25th, 2009

Nestlé Makes Bad Product Marginally Less Bad

Fresh on the heels of its defeat by activists in McCloud, Nestlé ramped up its efforts to appear a responsible corporate citizen this week by unveiling plans to use a new, ‚lightweight” plastic for its bottled water. According to the industry publication Food Production Daily, the new bottle will weigh 9.5 g, down from 12.5g. In the same article, Nestlé Waters North America CEO Kim Jeffries touted the ‚environmental impacts” of the new bottle: ‚Lightweighting our bottle is the single biggest impact we can have from an environmental standpoint on our carbon footprint,” said Jeffries.

While we are obviously all for being gentler on the environment, we have an even better idea for Nestlé: stop bottling water for profit altogether. Read the full article…

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The Water Challenge Chronicles – Jon, Week 3

Wow, this has been a long week–one that seems will never end. Due to various work-related demands, focusing my energies on the Water Challenge has been especially difficult. I am also discovering the limitations of my own abilities to reasonably cut my water use. Seeing that I rent an apartment and therefore have fewer wasteful habits to begin with, as well as less control over the changes I can enact, Im finding more and more difficult to find ways to reduce my water use.

Of course, the new shower head is paying off. I am getting used to the lower water pressure, although I do find that I stay in the shower longer in order to compensate for that, so Im not really sure if that measure is paying off or not. Read the full article…

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September 24th, 2009

Greenopia Greenwashing

I dont think any oil company deserves to have an environmental rating, but when I saw that Greenopia rates British Petroleum (BP) as #1, I was really outraged. I guess a huge PR budget and pretending to be post-petroleum works.

BP is no more beyond petroleum, than McDonalds is beyond burgers.

As an oil company, BP comes close to being criminal. It has repeatedly skirted the law, most recently in developing the Atlantis project, which has the potential to cause a catastrophic accident that could shut down the oil, fishing and tourism industry in the Gulf of Mexico. The deepest moored semi-submersible oil and gas platform in the world is precariously positioned in “hurricane alley,” 150 miles of the coast of New Orleans. Under the management of Minerals Management Service, lapdog of the oil industry, BP has been allowed to get away with what may end up being murder. Not only is most of the required documentation proving the platform is safe to operate missing, there is evidence that if a hurricane hits the area, an accident bigger than the Exxon Valdez could be the result. But, it shouldnt be a surprise that BP cuts corners.
Read the full article…

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September 23rd, 2009

Graywater: Part of the Conservation Solution

With California experiencing a third dry year, we should be looking to conserve all the water we can. Yet every day, millions of us do our laundry or take a shower without recapturing that water and putting it to good use. As the San Francisco Chronicle reported last week, there is an easy, affordable, and now legal way to recapture that water and use it for landscape irrigation.

Landscape irrigation uses up to 40% of urban water use in some California communities. Installing graywater systems, made significantly easier by new regulation, will allow us to recapture water from washing machines and dishwashers and divert it through pipes to gardens for as little as $200, resulting in significant water savings. Read the full article…

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The Water Challenge Chronicles – Alex, Week 3

In my last entry, I wrote about how, because of my current living situation, Im somewhat limited in the ways in which I can cut back on my water usage. Renting an apartment means I dont own any of my own appliances or have a yard, so many of the methods I see on these ‚ways to save water” lists dont really apply to me. I wrote a letter imploring my property management company to replace its antiquated washing machines with new, efficient models, but Ive yet to hear back from them. Read the full article…

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September 22nd, 2009

The Ugly Truth About Miss America‚ Bottled Water

Last week, the Miss America Organization announced it would embark on a mission to “preserve the planet. Its method of doing so? Switching to Nature Bottles, a so-called “environmentally friendly” brand of bottled water. Although we appreciate the good intention, the fact is, there is no such thing as “environmentally friendly” bottled water.

While wasteful, polluting plastic bottles are one reason that bottled water is bad for the environment, they are not the only one. In fact, the recent trend towards packaging water in “environmentally friendly” or “green” bottles is really just a trick on the part of the bottled water industry to distract you from the fact that its product is a destructive waste of money. Read the full article…

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September 18th, 2009

Rep. Rahall to Help Stop Harmful Offshore Fish Farms

A new bill introduced by Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV), H.R.3534, includes language crucial to prevent development of offshore aquaculture , the mass-production of fish using open net pens or cages located about three to 200 miles offshore , in U.S waters. Also known as ocean fish farming, open water aquaculture and other similar terms, the approach to growing fish in ocean waters has been a hot topic for some time. Effects of such an industry, including serious ecological problems and the loss of many fishing and related jobs, are well-documented from similar operations worldwide. The bill, entitled the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources Act of 2009, includes an important section that would prevent the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the primary agency tasked with conservation and management of ocean resources, and Regional Fishery Management Councils, bodies that help make regulations for fishing, from developing plans to allow offshore aquaculture. The bill would be an important step in stopping these destructive operations from expanding in the U.S. Read the full article…

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The Water Challenge Chronicles – Jon, Week 2

So, it‚ been a week since my adventure to Target to buy a dishpan. How‚ it working out, you ask? Well, I have to tell you: I really, really, really wish that I had one of those fancy double-bin sinks. I am happy that my contribution to nature is saving water, but I find that using this dishpan extends my dishwashing time by about 15 minutes every time I wash dishes. Now, with getting the pan ready, washing it to make sure it‚ clean, filling it with hot water, and then actually washing my dishes, I am beginning to suspect that this particular water conservation measure may be a waste of time. I think that many of us waste so much water because it‚ the convenient thing to do. On the up side, I have saved over 170 gallons of water since my last post. Read the full article…

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Water Privatization Threat in Mexico City

Mexico is a country facing staggering water problems. Pollution, scarcity, and lack of access to safe water throughout the country have united many Mexicans into a broad movement in recent years. Now, residents of Mexico City, such as myself, are seeing a new challenge to our already compromised access to a reliable supply of clean water.

Water scarcity has been in Mexico City‚ headlines for several months. Since January of this year, there have been increasing scheduled cutoffs from the Cutzamala system, one of the most important supplies of drinking water for the city. The Cutzamala system is a huge complex of dams, pumps and pipelines that transports 16,000 liters of water per second 1,100 meters up and over the mountains and then 90 miles to the taps of Mexico City. Read the full article…

Louisiana Seafood Safety Bill: A Small Step in the Right Direction

On September 8, a new seafood safety bill authored by Representative Fred Mills (D-46) was formally signed in the Louisiana State Legislature by Governor Jindal.   The bill comes at a time when nearly two-thirds of the shrimpers in the state have participated in a strike in the last month to protest the low prices they receive for their catch. (Read more about the strike and the shrimpers’ position here.) The primary problem is the low prices of farmed imported shrimp, which domestic shrimpers can’t compete with. It’s the same problem that’s undermined so many other U.S. industries: it’s cheaper to produce things in other countries where there aren’t strong labor and environmental standards. While purchasing less expensive products may seem to be a short term answer to difficult personal economic times, it can perpetuate domestic financial problems , by causing loss of U.S. jobs. In this case, there is a risk to consumer health as well. Read the full article…

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