Water: Brand Loyalties and Classism Ignore Horrific Realities of Millions

Authors: Kymone Freeman, Green For All Academy Candidate I remember my grandmother telling me when I was nine years old that they were going to sell water one day. I told her that she was crazy. Water was free. Why would anyone pay for water? That was over thirty years ago. Now a gallon of bottled water can cost more than a gallon of gas. As a 2010 Green For All Academy Fellow Candidate, my term of service will be focused on the critical issue of water conservation and bringing attention to the impending water crisis that currently claims 25,000 lives everyday in Third World countries. I saw this first hand during the summer of 2004 I spent in Kibera, the second largest largest slum in Africa (located in Nairobi, Kenya), where the poor are forced to drink tainted water. Here in America, water has now officially become a vehicle for profit, and many of us are contributing to the problem. The real genius of multi-national corporations is that they have managed to associate classism with their "products." Many people simply refuse to drink filtered tap water, which in several cases has already been proven to be in fact what they are purchasing under the label of "spring water." Some are even expressing brand loyalty, uttering statements like "I only drink Fiji Water." Therefore, I have chosen to invest my energy and time in exposing the fallacy of bottled water, and challenging individuals to be held accountable for their actions and carry their own water in environmentally friendly canteens, such as those provided by Green For All. For the conscious, I will explain how bottled water has a significantly larger environmental footprint than filtered tap water. For the religious, I will quote the bible: "Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well." (Proverbs 5:15) And for the masses of people living paycheck to paycheck, I will simply explain the amount of money they could save by putting a filter on their faucets and pitchers. All of this would be an effort to bring the water crisis to the forefront of people's minds, while simultaneously working to create a sane water policy in my city. The real question will be whether we'll be willing to carry our own filtered tap water instead of buying the bottled kind. Or will we continue to ignore the horrific realities of millions of people who watch in horror when we throw half full plastic water bottles away? Read more about the race to control water, our most precious natural resource ยป Kymone Freeman is a 2010 Green For All Academy Fellow Candidate and director of the National Black LUV Festival. He was recognized in 2006 as a finalist of Washington, D.C. Mayor's Art Award for Excellence in Service to the Arts, and received a Mayoral Proclamation in 2007.

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