Sunday, April 15, 2007

More on Tap Water at Restaurants.

Ever have one of those weekends where everything seems to tie in together. Well this is one of those weekends for me. First off the Wall Street Journal gets into the Mix (not sure how long this free link will last) about the increasing number of high end restaurants no longer offering bottled water.

Now this was really appropriate, since I kicked off this weekend with a very high end meal that was positively indulgent (remember the Compact says no new things, not that you can't indulge and indulged I did). And we immediately went for tap water. Now the WSJ article talks about people thinking that bottled water is healthier, which probably highlights the failure of our science education more than anything else. Water is not healthier per se, but it can taste different. You really can't get all your minerals from water at the concentrations we're talking about. And municipal water where it is flouridated is probably better for your teeth. But from an eco-perspective, the architecture of our pipes makes it more efficient. Also, anyone who has traveled around the world will be aware how privileged we are to safely be able to drink water from the tap. In China, hot water is de rigeur not only because of preference but it became a way to be sure the water was safe from microbes. Industrial pollution no, but that's a recent phenomenon. Note, when in China backpacking or outside of business class hotels, I drink beer which has necessarly been boiled as part of the process and the alcohol helps kill any bacteria. That's my story and I'm sticking with it. But somehow, what should be a source of national pride is thought of as unhealthy. You can argue taste and preference, but health, we've gone wrong.

So in another nights conversation we talked about how can we make people more green, and the key is that we need to figure out a way to not make people choose to be green, but be green by default. And getting rid of bottled water at restaurants is an example. Less choice maybe, but will people notice in the long run. So the question is how do we create invisible greeness?


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