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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

SEA Change: Don’t bottle it up, vote!

Published: October 3, 2008
Section: Opinions

How long has it taken you to read this sentence?

Not long at all, but that’s exactly the amount of time it takes to cast your vote in the Student Union poll regarding the reduction of bottled water on campus. Not more than thirty seconds, not much time in the grand scope of things, but just enough time to make a truly lasting institutional change at this University.

We at Brandeis have the chance to pass a groundbreaking bottled water policy, but the University needs to hear from us first.

As some of you may know, the University has established a committee comprised of students, faculty, and staff to look into the feasibility of reducing campus-wide bottled water consumption.

Before enacting any policy, the committee wants to effectively gauge public opinion on the issue by presenting a Student Union poll to the undergraduate student body (we should be receiving an email with a link soon).

The committee is unsure of the wealth of public support for the reduction of bottled water on campus, and this is our chance to make sure the committee hears our voices.

Over the past two decades bottled water has dominated the beverage world with a powerful grip. Global consumption of bottled water more than doubled between 1997 and 2005, resulting in the unnecessary disposal of more than two million tons of plastic each year.

Fortunately, across the nation grassroots efforts have sprung up that are slowly awakening the American people to the absurdity of bottled water. As a result, the growth of the bottled water industry has slowed for the first time in a decade.

In the past year, communities nation-wide have demonstrated their aversion to bottled water. Municipalities, such as San Francisco and Salt Lake City, have outlawed the purchase of bottled water in their offices, some restaurants have stopped serving bottled water, and a few progressive schools have taken a stand on this issue. Now it is our turn to take action.

The production of bottled water uses over 1.5 million barrels of oil each year and that’s before counting the fuel used in transportation. In the end, the taste is indistinguishable and it is perfectly healthy; there are actually more health regulations on tap water than bottled water.

If you are still unsure of the negative social, economic, health and environmental effects of bottled water on communities and individuals worldwide, check out the article that appeared in the Sept. 19 column that spelled them out in great detail.

We need to end our absurd addiction to bottled water. We realize it is unrealistic to completely eliminate bottled water use; sometimes there is no other option. That is why the vote is for a large institutional reduction, and not the complete elimination of bottled water on campus.

By voting yes, we not only prove to the University that this is what the students want, but by becoming one of the first Universities in the nation to implement a policy of this scope, we also set a precedent for schools and institutions worldwide to take similar action. So go ahead, check your email, and take the thirty seconds to vote yes for the reduction of bottled water at Brandeis.