On November 19, I posted the following comment on the Boil Water Advisory story thread. Kate encouraged me to repost it as part of my blog, but it's taken me till the day the advisory has been lifted to actually do it.
On commodification of water .. I agree that bottled water should not be encouraged. Think of the energy to produce all those millions of single-use plastic containers and transport them to market. A market that wouldn't exist if we didn't buy into its claims of purity, hipness, convenience, being a healthy alternative to soft drinks, etc. Access to clean water should be a basic human right, not a commodity for sale. Sure, we pay for the convenience of its safe delivery to our homes by way of taxes, as we do for other infrastructure and services for the common good in our society ( the GVRD's Medical Health Officers, for example), but when we can get water out of the tap for free, there is no sensible reason for the existence of a bottled water industry. So we might have to boil our tap water for a couple of weeks. Hopefully this minor inconvenience will make us all think about where our water comes from and how lucky we are to have it. If we don't pay attention, control of this vital natual resource could soon to lost to us.
The first thing I ever bought with my 5-cents-a-week allowance was a bag of marbles. I think it cost 69 cents. After a few weeks of having money for the first time, the burning question for this six-year-old was, "what am I going to buy?" I didn’t even play marbles as a game. It was just to have them. I liked their perfect roundness, their colours inside clearness, the way they sparkled and the sounds they made clicking against each other.
In the context of trying to be a conscious consumer, sometimes that is the question. Of course there are further, interrelated questions, which lead to weighing options, then making the decision To Buy or Not To Buy.
The first might be: Why? Why would I buy something? Is it necessary? Food is necessary but do I want to stock up on groceries or grab take-out?
ask questions (to buy or not to buy? why?)... consider influences (advertising? fashion? it's on sale?)... read labels (what's in it? where was it made?)... weigh options (eg. support a local producer or get the best price?)... make choices that reflect my values (eg. local and organic is better for the environment)...