Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Plastic water

Got an email announcing the launch of the European Water Partnership's water blog 'Blue Gold' at http://www.questjournalists.com and read James Dorsey's excellent piece on the private, social and ecological cost of bottled water (and what Corporate Accountability International got Pepsico to do) http://www.questjournalists.com/index.php/site/pepsi_to_identify_water_source_on_aquafina_label/. (wow. why's this link going off the page) So the next time you wince at having to buy/watch someone else buy plastic water, you know it's for a good reason. I don't like the title they've chosen for the blog though, precisely because of the influence any EU institution potentially wields, makes me a little apprehensive-naming water by a euphemism that's a precious metal to be coveted, possessed, owned and mined, not a fundamental right that has universal claimants.

Restaurants collude with bottled water companies to force people to buy bottled water. I was meeting up with an old SPICMACAY friend at a Delhi Cafe Coffee Day (CCD), India's upmarket chain of cafes, and asked the very polite and 'professional' waiter for water. (First thing, the guy only asked me what chai/coffee I wanted, a big put off for someone coming in thirsty from the sweltering heat.)
He replied it was listed on the menu. I, mustering my incredulous best look, asked 'Don't you have non-bottled water?'
He said 'Ma'am, we only have tap water', grimacing at the 'tap', suggesting how-can-someone-who-can-afford-CCD-coffee-be-so-uncool-as-to-drink-tap-water?
I said I'd have tap water, which (silver lining) they served in a smoothie glass : ).

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Redistributing electricity

A couple of weeks ago P. Sainath (Everybody Loves a Good Drought) said on Doordarshan News (why won't the private channels have him over?) that turning off electricity in all of Bombay's malls and multiplexes for 15 minutes gives enough power to irrigate 12 districts of Vidarbh for a hour.
Ain't that cool?
For a perspective, three hours of timely irrigation in one field produces enough food to feed a family of four for four months.