I bought seven brands of bottled water yesterday. I got the good stuff, waters from around the world. I am fascinated by regional-specific goods, especially foods. When these products come directly from the earth, I am even more interested. Location-specific waters, which most of these are, are luxury items for sure. Some of these waters are from islands, and others come from remote areas of Europe. They are expensive … and I’m not even talking about money.
Bottling water takes a vital commodity from the earth. The ecosystems in these areas are dependent on historical levels of groundwater and aquifers. I often feel as though my Western lifestyle allows for me to rob a pristine land of its most important resource, pack it in small toxic packaging we call plastic, and ship it over the ocean on massive boats. This happens partly because my own culture is too destructive to take care of its own water supply.
I feel like this bottled water issue speaks to a larger concern. The planet’s water is in a dire state, contaminated with everything we have tossed its way, including industrial waste and household refuse. Our inability to limit our waste or manage our consumption has resulted in a serious situation. Deserts are spreading. Oceans are diseased. Rain is toxic. Aquifers are being depleted. Drinkable water is limited, and the supply is shrinking. Life, which depends on water, is feeling the pressure.
We must begin acting now if we hope to keep the planet looking anything close to the way we found it. The speed at which we are changing the planet is rapid. The severe problems mentioned above arise because human-induced changes to the environment are occurring faster than the natural systems can accommodate them. Our goal moving forward is to begin consciously creating the future with manageable changes. We must think of how our decisions affect the world around us and attempt to minimize disturbances. Bottled water is one example of many.
One way to minimize disturbance to our environment is to learn how to slow down our lives. Sometimes technology and new products help make our lives better, but other times our possessions make things more complicated. If you can learn to be happy with owning less, you will have made a large, fundamental change in your life. With fewer things to think about, you can spend your time and money on things that will improve your life rather than distract you from it.