Pretend you’re walking down a street in Oakland, and I just handed you a flyer. This is what it says:
Do you care about your right to water?
Join us in our campaign to ask mayor Dellums of Oakland to take a public stand in favor of our municipal water systems and to cancel all of his bottled water contracts by December 2007.
Wednesday, October 3rd
Malonga Casquelord Center for the Arts (Formerly Alice Arts Center)
1428 Alice Street, Oakland, CA 94612
Please RSVP Rachael firstname.lastname@example.org or call (510) 809-7353
So will you come?
Here’s the background. At the end of Loni Hancock’s Forum On The Health Of San Francisco Bay last Thursday, I met Rachael Goodyer of Corporate Accountability International, a group organizing citizens to press mayors across the country to cancel their cities’ bottled water contracts. A few months ago, Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco did just that.
In Executive Directive 07-05 on June 21, 2007, Mayor Newsom wrote:
Data suggests that the environmental impact of the bottled water industry has been profound.
According to the Container Recycling Institute, supplying the plastic water bottles that American consumers purchase in one year requires more than 47 million gallons of oil, the equivalent of one billion pounds of carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere.
More than one billion plastic water bottles end up in California’s landfills each year, taking 1000 years to biodegrade and leaking toxic additives such as phthalates into the groundwater.
Additionally, water diverted from local aquifers for the bottled water industry can strain surrounding ecosystems.
Furthermore, transporting bottled water by boat, truck and train involves burning massive quantities of fossil fuels.
All of this waste and pollution is generated by a product that by objective standards is often inferior to the quality of San Francisco’s pristine tap water.
In addition to its concern about the environmental impact of water bottles, Corporate Accountability International looks at bottled water vs. tap water as a human rights issue. Money is diverted to bottled water corporations such as Coke, Pepsi, and Nestle, that should be spent on the public water infrastructures to ensure that all citizens have the benefits of free, clean drinking water.
I have joined this campaign here in Oakland, and urge any other Oakland readers to join up as well. If you have some time to volunteer, great! Please contact me or Rachael to find out what you can do to help. And if you only have enough time to sign the pledge, that’s great too. We need your voices to be heard.
If you don’t live in Oakland, you might still be able to participate! This campaign is being waged in 7 major cities at the same time:
Austin * Baltimore * Boston * Chicago * Minneapolis * Oakland * Portland
If you live in any of those areas and would like to find out what you can do to help, please let me know. I have contact information for the organizers in those cities.
Our own personal actions are a great start. But getting the support of our leaders on these issues is the only way we can ultimately change the system. Please help.
Don’t make me bribe you with chocolate!
And now for today’s update on the Trash Challenge.