Thursday, August 02, 2007

Water, Water Everywhere

As part of my teensy-tiny, baby-step attempt to go a bit greener, I've decided that I've (mostly) had it with bottled water.

I say mostly because I know there will be times when I need to break down and spring for the Poland Springs. One such event is upcoming. My sister Trish and I are attending a Red Sox game scheduled for an afternoon in mid-August. Seats in the bleachers. Now, the bleachers are fine at night. And they would have been fine for the Sunday afternoon game at Fenway that got rained out in April. But mid-August afternoon in the bleachers? We may not last that long, but for as long as we last we'll be sucking down water. And, as the Fenway patrols will not allow you to bring your own liquids in to the Park, and the water fountains* are few and far between, what we'll be drinking will be pricey bottled water.

Still, there are plenty of reasons to turn away from bottled water.

  • It costs a lot more money than tap water.
  • In most places in this country, the tap water's pretty darn good.
  • In some cases, the bottled water is tap water. (No matter what those Alpine-rimmed, glassy-glad, mountain tarn labels lead you to believe. A couple of years ago, a local news station showed us how a small local bottle water "producer" was producing bottled water directly from a house in the bathtub of his apartment in Dorchester, a neighborhood in Boston. The brand was something like "Vermont Mountain Springs.")
  • Bottled water also requires bottles, most of which are not, apparently, re-cycled. So they're sitting around in landfills leaching out plastic yuck.
  • Speaking of which: I read that you shouldn't put bottles of water in the freezer, since freezing breaks down the plastic yuck into carcinogens.
  • Just hauling all those gallons of bottled water around the country requires a lot of fuel use.

So better to be a little green, a little prudent, a little cheap, and go back to tap water.

Following my sister Kathleen's lead, I've ordered a nice, environmentally friendly aluminum bottle to carry around my own personally bottled tap water. Even though we won't be able to take them out to the ballgame, I've also ordered one for my sister Trish. And for my nieces: less plastic, more better.

Of course, it may be easier in Boston than it is in some other parts of the country to accept no substitutes for tap water. Old pipes and all, our Eau d'Quabbin Reservoir is pretty darn good.

Even a couple of wine-tasters say so. On the Today show recently, they ranked Boston water second out of 12 in their taste test. (There was nothing scientific about it, but still it was good to hear. Salt Lake City came in first.)

I am not surprised by the results. New England water is pretty good, and it's one of our greatest natural resources. (I guess that will be true until the majority of the country's population moves to the desert and sucks our acquifer dry.) As a kid, I remember not liking the Chicago water we drank when we visited my grandmother. And I really hated the Wisconsin water we drank when we visited some family friends who had a farm there. Ewwww. I can still remember the bitter, sulphur taste.

So, I'm going green with my H2O, swearing off the bottled water wherever I can.

Just not at Fenway Park. Not in the bleachers in the middel of August.  And besides, at least I know that unlike a lot of the brands, the Poland Springs they sell at Fenway does not come from the tap.


*I wanted to write "bubbler" there, then realized that only people who grew up in New England will have any clue what a bubbler is. Years ago in San Francisco, I asked someone if they knew where the nearest bubbler was, and he thought I was a Brit looking for a mailbox.


John Whiteside said...

A friend of mine from Providence went to NYC for college. When he first arrived, all excited to be in the big city, he went to one of the museums. He got thirsty and asked a security guard, "where's the bubbler?"

The guard was confused. He said, "You know, the thing that water comes out of?"

"Oh!" the guard said, and gave him directions. My friend followed them, only to arrive at a decorative fountain.

Anonymous said...

Hey - good news. We may not be going "green" to Fenway, but at least we may be able to save a few bucks by bringing our own Poland Spring. From the Red Sox website: "No food can be brought into the ballpark and only sealed bottled waters of 16oz. or less are allowed." Now maybe if we could get them to add a few more "bubblers" and get cold water to come out of the taps in the bathroom, we'd be all set....

Maureen Rogers said...

What America needs is more bubblers!