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March 23, 2010

The Story of Bottled Water

The Story of Stuff Project Presents

“The Story of Bottled Water”

Today is World Water Day, and to mark the occasion I’m joining with some of North America’s leading environmental groups to release the latest Story of Stuff Project short film:  The Story of Bottled Water.

Like The Story of Stuff, this new film uses simple words and images to explain a complex problem, in this case manufactured demand:  how you get people to think they need to spend money on something they don’t actually need or already have.

Over the last two decades, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Nestle and other big beverage companies have spent untold millions of dollars making us afraid of tap water. They’ve told us that if we want to be sure what we drink is pure and clean-not to mention hip and fashionable-we should buy bottled water.

Unfortunately, it worked.

In the United States alone, we consume approximately 500,000,000 bottles of water each week. Imagine that: while 1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water worldwide, other people spend billions of dollars on a bottled product that’s no cleaner, harms people and the environment and costs up to 2,000 times the price of tap water.

But there’s good news: Last year, for the first time in a long time, bottled water sales fell-not that much, but they went down. Consumers who want economy, portability and convenience are switching to refillable metal bottles. Restaurants are proudly serving tap water. And cities, states, companies and schools around the world are ditching the bottle to save money and do their part for the environment.

Still, we’ve got a ways to go.

So please, take a minute today to watch The Story of Bottled Water. Then pass it along to your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers-anyone you think might be interested.

You are The Story of Stuff Project’s strongest allies:  You made the original Story of Stuff an Internet phenomenon, with nearly 9 million views total. Last December, you pushed The Story of Cap & Trade past half a million views in just under six weeks. And in the last ten days, you’ve helped our new book, The Story of Stuff, enter the New York Times extended bestseller list at #35. Thank you a million times over.

After you’ve forwarded The Story of Bottled Water to your networks, I encourage you to join a campaign for investment in clean tap water for everyone, like those sponsored by our partners at Corporate Accountability International, Food & Water Watch, Polaris Institute, Environmental Working Group, and Pacific Institute. Visit these fantastic groups’ websites to learn more, sign-up and get involved.

Together, we can send Coke, Pepsi, Nestle and the rest of the industry a message as clear as a glass of tap water: We’re not buying into your manufactured demand anymore. We’ll choose our own demands, thank you very much, and we’re demanding clean safe water for all!

Sincerely,

Annie Leonard