Buy a thermos, save the earth!

November 20, 2015 § 3 Comments

Plastic water bottle.What could be wrong with all the cool stuff we big-brained humans make?


Example 1. The plastic water bottle.

Manufactured from non-renewable petrochemicals it is designed for the one-time delivery of 16.9 ounces of potable water.

How do we justify the creation of such a permanent object to serve such a temporary need?

And why are we bottling water in the first place, when we are never more than a few steps away from a tap that delivers clean water, a source so abundant we use it to wash our cars and flush our toilets?

The water in the bottle is not superior—just easier to carry.

Americans empty nearly 50 billion of these bottles, recycling about 23%, but even if a bottle is reincarnated through recycling the question remains, why did we need to make the plastic in the first place?

Plastic silverware
Example 2. (If you got example 1, skip to the header, Test #1).

Here’s some tableware, also made from non-renewable petrochemicals and designed to be used once then thrown away.

You have a drawer full of silverware that will outlast you and your children and your children’s children yet you put out plastic ware because…?

Americans move fast and they like their convenience, still it is hard to believe it is too inconvenient to slow down long enough to wash a fork.

Distrust convenience; it generates too much trash.

Test # 1:

Everything we make has a lifespan of usefulness, and a lifespan of existence. Ideally the equation would look like this:

useful life=actual life.

But for many things the equation looks like this:

useful life < actual life

Let us apply the equation to example 1 above:

Useful life of the plastic water bottle < actual life of the plastic water bottle.

Replace “plastic water bottle” with “thermos” and the equation is much more balanced.

For a further example write your own equation, first for plastic fork then for stainless steel fork.

plastic_vortexSometimes the imbalance is extreme, the lifespan of usefulness the blink of an eye, the afterlife of the object long enough to choke an ocean.

Consider applying the equation before inviting material things into your life.

Test # 2: What would your great-great grandmother think?

Imagine she is standing in your kitchen. Want to impress her? Turn on the tap in your sink. Want to drive her to the edge of amazement? Turn on the hot water.

Now show her your handy supply of bottled water. With a shrug, she will go back to turning the tap off and on. She knows the real deal when she sees it. No more trips to the well. She opens a cupboard and reaches for a glass.

We are outraged when “those idiots” frack, clear-cut, strip mine, river-divert, mountaintop remove, and ground water pollute. But day after day, thanks to a long string of small non-decisions and concessions made to convenience each of us is driving all of us toward the edge.

The big stuff may be out of our control, but the little stuff is within reach and it isn’t even hard.

So, buy that thermos, wash that fork, and once in a while separate what is necessary from what is tomfoolery the way your great-great grandmother would.

Note: Slow Dance Journal is taking a short Thanksgiving break. See you as December starts–hopefully with a funny post. The last few have probably worn you flat-out.

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§ 3 Responses to Buy a thermos, save the earth!

  • craig reeder says:

    it still astounds us old-timers that people actually BUY water.


    • I sometimes wonder why we don’t all rise up and say, it’s in a bottle, sure, but its just water folks!

      It is similar to the unwillingness of the crowd to point out that the emperor of fairy tale fame is running around naked.


  • Sue Cronkite says:

    You are the flat-out best at writing. I have been against the bottled water for some time. I believe the plastic leaches into the water and that many diseases may be caused by it. I have heard warnings that a person shouldn’t drink the water after it sits in a hot car. Seems to me the entire population of this country has an oral fixation. Maybe sucking on the bottle is in their nature. Not me.


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