Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's not only about water.

Taking back the tap isn't only about securing water for communities and eliminating needless waste associated with bottled water. It's about public health and wellness. Several people have written to me and said, "I really appreciate what you are doing about bottled water. But I'm worried that people might shift to soda." This is a reasonable concern.

Now, Congress might step in to help with that too. NPR reports today,

Amid the health care overhaul debate, one big question has been where to come up with about $1 trillion in funding to change the system. One idea that has been suggested is a junk food tax — and, in particular, a tax on soda.

Public health advocates say drinking soda is directly linked to obesity, which is partly responsible for skyrocketing health care costs.

To my mind, this is an unequivocal good. It reduces processed sugar consumption and has the possibility of greater health and wellness. It could further reduce another kind of water commoditization (because what is soda besides processed sugar water?) and many of the same disastrous inputs and outputs associated with bottled water. Less petroleum use in bottle fabrication, distribution, and disposal.


  1. "Shift to soda"?! Isn't this selling people short a wee bit? I understand the public health implications of drinking soda. I also understand that soda is a convenient beverage of choice for many people.

    But if we seriously consider that people would simply shift to drinking soda just because they couldn't drink bottled water, it is like admitting that our cause is lost from the get go.

    Why not assume that people would switch to other, and better, ways of drinking water? Is there any evidence to suggest that the absence of bottled water results in higher amounts of soda consumption?

    Soda-fear mongers sound like nay-sayers in disguise.

  2. There is no such evidence. From what I understand the people at Washington U. in St. Louis saw soda sales decline.

  3. Haha, the expression "soda-fear mongers" is my new favorite!