Posts Tagged ‘Take Back the Tap’

Greenwashing the Bottled Water War – Fiji Water vs. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

Gavin Newsom, America’s “most stylin’” mayor, has deservedly gotten lots of national attention for leading the charge against the bottled water industry. Take a look here at a scene from last month in San Francisco - he was somewhere inside this scrum of media and tap water fans. He’s got a tiger by the tail with this popular issue, much to the chagrin of industry giants Coca Cola, Pepsi, and Nestle.

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But what started this campaign? It was a conversation a while back the mayor had about his possession of some bottles of Fiji Water. Somebody pointed out a few things about the pros and cons (mostly the cons) of shipping drinking water from the South Pacific to San Francisco. The result is that he is an international leader on this issue.

Fair enough. But now it appears that Fiji Water is leading the campaign FOR bottle water. They’re attacking the anti-bottled water movement at an RSS 2.0-enabled website called FijiGreen. (They’ve just boosted the ad budget so you might be hearing more from them soon.)

First of all: FijiGreen!?! WTF? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

Having dispensed with that, check out this blog entry written by ”Fiji Green Gal” where she attempts to debunk the “food miles” myth. As you can see, she’s got her hands full when she doggedly replies to commenters.

You’re on your own after that. It’s up to you to make your own decision about how some people in the Republic of the Fiji Islands might benefit from Fiji Water bottling, about how some chefs just seem to love the stuff, about how they have an SVP working on these issues, etc. You might end up with a nuanced view or you might get so interested you’ll take the TreeHugger Survey.

Add it all up and see how all this compares with turning on the faucet when you’re thirsty or bottling your own tap water for those times when you’re on the go.  

The Mayor of San Francisco Takes On the Bottled Water Industry

Friday, March 21st, 2008

Part of this crowd, a large crowd actually, at the San Francisco Ferry Building yesterday was there to get their very own free stainless steel vacuum flask to carry around tap water as an alternative to buying water in plastic bottles.
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These were handed out for free:

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Doesn’t everyone heart S.F.? How about the tap water you get in S.F. and some sourrounding areas? It comes from the Yosemite area, takes a rest around here, and then comes into your kitchen. It’s the best tap water in the world. So what’s wrong with drinking it instead of Dasani or Aquafina or whatever?

In 2007, Mayor Newsom famously worked on getting municipal workers off of the plastic water bottle. That move generated a little blowback but it also attracted some national interest.

In 2008, attention turns to restaurants routinely offering bottled water to patrons. It didn’t used to be this way, but nowadays it’s the first choice  you have to make at some joints and some diners might feel that they’re being a bit cheap if they don’t spring for the spring water. What the Mayor is doing is using a little moral suasion to affect public behavior for the greater good. It’s not really “greenwashing,” actually. What it is is a perfectly appropriate use of the bully pulpit, as it doesn’t force anybody to do anything and it doesn’t cost the taxpayers any substantial amount of money.

Of course the bottled water industry thinks yesterday’s effort smacks of  totalitarianism.

Stainless steel bottles are available while supplies last at SFPUC Customer Service at 1155 Market Street near Civic Center. Take a pledge to stop buying plastic bottles of water and you can get a nice metal bottle as well. Just drop on by. Who knows, you might get lucky.