How many times have you been to a political rally, lecture or concert – even a green event – and watched stunned as your favorite activist, public official, VJ or performer takes a swig from the one of the 29.8 billion plastic water bottles sold in the U.S. every year. Ahhh, a refreshing chemical-filled gulp from the polyethylene terephthalate sheath (over 80% of which, as you may know, go unrecycled).
But sales for the polluting (internally and externally) bottles are, if not tanking, at least decreasing. Over the past two years, sales have dipped from $11.5 billion in 2007 down to $10.6 billion in 2009. The proverbial tides are changing; even in convenience stores, refillable bottles have arrived. This aspect of the global water crisis is finally making it into the zeitgeist.
This weekend’s sure-to-be remarkable 10/10/10 events, brought about by the team at 350.org (and the efforts off author/activist Bill McKibben) is inspiring the single largest series of environment actions in human history, with over 7,000 events planned in 188 countries. Even a quick scan of events can’t help but inspire you.
Amongst a wide array of environmental issues, many of 10/10/10’s Work Parties focus on water. In Jordan, Israel and Palestine, participants are holding a three-day, three-nation Relay for Water. The Boston Under Water 350 Festival features a race to build a wall of sandbags, with the intent to protect Boston from rising sea levels and stronger climate-impacted storms. River and Life in Dhaka, Bangladesh, is an ambitious project aiming to impact health and environment as well as the general and specific livelihoods of the Buriganga River area. In Tokyo, people are showcasing distinctive farming techniques – out the windows of high rises and using disposable plastic water bottles. In Grand Rapids, MI, a fun day of political theater organized by Plan B will host an event where sand and gravel water filters and a bicycle-powered water pump will help quench the thirst of attendees.
Kick the Bottle in Arlington, TX, focuses specifically on breaking the single-use water habit. The University of Nebraska in Omaha is hosting their own “teach-in” on plastics, called (you got it!), In One word: ‘Plastics'. Windsor, CA’s Cotati group will hold the The 7 Wonders of Water Conservation event, the focus of which will be on conservation education.
In the Bahamas, people are learning the hows and whys of channeling and reducing wastewater and more effectively catching rain water to store in cisterns in the Garden Expansion and Waste Water Reuse demonstration.
Even outside of organized 10/10/10 event this weekend will see progress: at the Hamptons Film Festival, October 7-11, reusable I [heart] NY WATER bottles, provided by The Monday Campaigns, will be making the rounds. Wouldn’t it be kinda nice to catch a celeb refilling their bottle?
To see what other events are happening around the U.S. and the world, or to find an event taking place near you, go to 350.org’s event finder page.
Busy Sunday? You can still do something: For one, take Food & Water Watch’s no-brainer pledge – and take a pass on the throwaway bottle.