Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Freedom Is a Green Diet

What life choices we make is linked to our very freedom. We, Americans must become lean and green. A green liberation movement will show us both how we must become more responsible and our ability to ecologically respond. Simply, if we engage in wholesome action that benefits all we become less imprison by our harmful habits. We now must shift from consumers to conservers entering into a green diet of lessening both our waste and waists. Yes, we must eat more GREENS! This is rabbit food not rabid food to lessen our country’s chances of HEART ATTACK. An ethic of obesity must now change to more wholesome diet for the planet. When we take care of the world we help ourselves. Since what goes around, comes around, our individual actions directly have consequences on us. Over consuming on our planet creates lots of personal and global suffering besides breaking collective heart.

The results of humans overindulgence are clear. Excessive overeating can leads not just to obesity yet other health dangers of obesity are well documented. Four of our leading causes of death in America are related to overweight, poor diet and lack of exercise. These include the three leading proximate causes of death—heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Nature deficit syndrome is another mental health issue. As we become more disconnected with our ecosystems we participate less often in various enjoyable physical activities. Less physical activity results in less energy, and a vicious cycle of declining physical activity and health occurs.

As a responsible society we must prevent a double-standard where we say one thing but differently act. Proclaiming we support reducing global warming, then purchase an energy inefficient car is hypocritical. We waste our good drinking water to make our lawns greener or buy bottle water creating billions of plastic bottles. To truly be free our words must be consistent with our deeds. If we give the best to the world we will enjoy many happy returns!

Today’s culture provides us many opportunities to reduce waste choices by simply reducing our consumption. Less can become best! Using less food, water, paper, plastic, oil and any natural resource just requires awakening that all things are valuable. Walking, using public transportation or riding your bicycle can also result in greater belonging with your community. We must not reinforce consumerism but realize the psychic benefits of sustainable citizenship. Can we develop new environmental behavior based on supporting biological needs instead of reinforcing greed and apathy?

The fundament human challenge is how perceive our environment? Are we are separate or apart of our planet? A tangle of pathology happens because we keep thinking we need more material things to feed our anxiousness because we feel threaten by our natural world. Many environmentally minded individuals are raising what America’s consciousness to address climate change and other ecological concerns to become reconnected or less anxious.

America’s very pursuit of happiness is in question. We the people are the precious agents to preserve our land and our spirit. The United States can not afford to create more CO2 and other things impacting our not only our well being but life itself. We can lead by example so maybe India, China and others can collectively prosper by a reduced carbon path. Such protection is vital to any sanity or peace for the possibility of a promising future.

Our collective pursuit of happiness comes from understanding how we create global suffering. There are very serious human consequences when we engage in destructive habits whose roots are greedy, arrogant and indifferent. Once we see beyond the price of things and value of nature’s intrinsic worth—a worth that may be expressed more in aesthetic or spiritual reasons.


As our consciousness evolves to see ecological’ arguments appeal to human self-interest then a connection can be made that our human health is apart of our ecosphere. Can we see our world as just a greater extension of ourselves if we can become deeply in touch. Our human survival depends on healthy environment that preserve the native flora and fauna. To flourish in our physical environments humans must create healthy boundaries. This need is a moral concern since such self-interest that does not take in account the larger world has serious ethical questions.

As we lessen our desire to consume we find a new liberation. As we curb our obsessive hunger a new form of prosperity will unfold. America’s democracy becomes threatened by our waste of oil, coal, water, metals, and other resources. It is both self destructive and globally reckless to over-consume.

There is a strong connection between increased well-being, happiness and our national security. Thrift, generosity, sharing and other wholesome measures promote freedom. Wasteful consumption violates the very values this nation was founded on. We have a choice to become free. Our spiritual survival depends that we understand our connection with the earth and appropriately respond. Such action is both kind and will benefit all things. Courage becomes evident only when we quiet our minds and listen to our heart. Once we show such reverence in conserving then we can celebrate. Let’s take the H from the end of eartH and place in front spelling Heart, since they are one and the same!

Bottled vs. Tap Water

Bottle water costs as much as 15,000 times more than tap water.[1] In a report by the Beverage Recycling Institute, “Water, Water Everywhere: the Growth of Non-Carbonated Beverages in the US” notes that sales of plastic bottle water 1 liter and less increased more than 100 percent from 2002 to 2005[2]. The bottle water segment in the worldwide beverage industry is bottled water. This universal solvent will exceed sales of milk and coffee becoming the second most consumed beverage next to soft drinks by 2004. However, this product may contain impurities and may not live up to many of the brand labels pristine sounding names. Many bottlers just use reprocessed water from municipal water supplies.

Bottled water is big business. In 2002 worldwide sales of bottled water were $35 billion dollars. In 2002 the United States sold 7.7 billion dollars worth of bottled water showing an increase in sales of 11 percent from 2001.

While the people think this water is better than tap water this is not the case. While the names on the bottles may sound wonderful they can be misleading. According to Coop America 40 percent of bottled water comes from the tap. Also, this water may or may not be further purified depending upon the independent bottler. In 1997, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization stated that bottled water does not have greater nutritional value than tap water.

Ironically, municipal water system do a much more extensive job in testing water for contaminants mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency or state regulatory agencies. However, bottle water is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and has very relaxed regulations if any. Such industry standards, monitoring and even enforcement for bottled water is largely self-regulated. This radically differs with controls placed on tap water requirements. For example if bottled water is sold within the same state it is produced then FDA does not regulate it. Most bottled water brand are sold in a single state operation and the majority states have very modest if any enforcement activity. Also testing of bottle water is significantly less than tap water. There are exceptions to this rule since states like California, New York and Texas have mandatory programs for disinfection standards to reduce possible contaminants. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment tested 80 bottled water samples from manufacturers and stores. They found that all 80 samples had detectable levels of chlorine, fluoride and sodium. 78 contained some nitrates which in large concentrations can cause blue baby syndrome. In another type of test done by a private firm, Idaho Pure Health Solutions, found that certain bacteria will grow in bottled waters after several weeks.

Another concern is that bottled water generates a lot of plastic waste. Each year 1.5 million tons of plastic are used in bottled water according to the World Wildlife Fund. It is estimated only ten percent of these plastic bottles are recycled in the US. The Container Recycling Institute estimates that American water bottles yearly consume 1.5 million barrels of oil, or enough to generate electricity to a quarter million homes for a year. Worldwide some 22 million tons of bottled water is transported from country to country impacting our air. The Container Recycling Institute cites that the overall recovery rate for drink containers was 34% in 2004, it was only 15% for custom PET bottles which includes bottled water. As sales of bottled water spirals up the amount of PET bottles being disposed of also increases.

Public drinking water supply advocates wish to address the challenges confronted by existing aged tap water infrastructure. United States EPA has accounted that 527 small water systems exist today serving 25 to 3,300 people. It estimates that the price tag to maintain these systems will cost $ 138 billion by 2014. Also it was estimated by EPA that 46,500 small systems serve only 10% of the population but will cost in the next 20 years per household $3,300. This cost is due to deferred maintenance, failure to replace or upgrade failing systems, lack of planning and insufficient rate structures to set aside funds to improve infrastructure

Some environmental advocates say the government must focus their limited resources on protecting groundwater and watersheds. However, most consumers are unaware about the quality of the expensive bottled water they purchased compared to the cost and quality of their tap water.

* Information from this paper came from “Why Bottle Water?”, Brian Howard, E Magazine, September/October 2003 pg 27-39

[1] Jen Boulden and Heather Stephenson, “Kicking the Bottle,” page 16, Plenty, August 2006