Narrator Stephen McLaughlin's well-paced and measured performance is easy on the ears, and his voice hits just the right note of sincerity and earnestness as he voices freshwater expert Peter Gleick's concerns about the bottled water industry. Gleick is a MacArthur Foundation "genius", and in Bottled & Sold, this environmental visionary - a title given to him by the BBC - explores how a free natural resource like water has somehow transformed into one of the most successful commercial products in the last 100 years and the negative impact of this development. Listeners will be dismayed by Gleick's revelations, but he offers hope with his proposals to counter the damaging effects of the bottled-water industry.
Peter Gleick knows water. A world-renowned scientist and freshwater expert, Gleick is a MacArthur Foundation "genius", and according to the BBC, an environmental visionary. And he drinks from the tap. Why don't the rest of us? Bottled & Sold shows how water went from being a free natural resource to one of the most successful commercial products of the last 100 years - and why we are poorer for it. It's a big story and water is big business. Every second of every day in the United States, a thousand people buy a plastic bottle of water, and every second of every day a thousand more throw one of those bottles away. That adds up to more than 30 billion bottles a year and tens of billions of dollars of sales. Are there legitimate reasons to buy all those bottles?
With a scientist's eye and a natural storyteller's wit, Gleick investigates whether industry claims about the relative safety, convenience, and taste of bottled versus tap hold water. And he exposes the true reasons we've turned to the bottle, from fear mongering by business interests and our own vanity to the breakdown of public systems and global inequities. "Designer" H2O may be laughable, but the debate over commodifying water is deadly serious. It comes down to society's choices about human rights, the role of government and free markets, the importance of being "green", and fundamental values. Gleick gets to the heart of the bottled water craze, exploring what it means for us to bottle and sell our most basic necessity.
©2010 Peter H. Gleick (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
Nothing new, the author has done some work on energy costs of bottled water, and yes like most packaged and long hauled bewerages it is not very environmentally friendly. The book is extremely US centric show casing some of the absurdities of the US system compared to e.g. the European perspective with respect to at least the regulatory part. The fact that advertising is deceptive and that there are quaks out there peddling miracle water should not come as a surprise (maybe the US regulatory impotence should), but it is worth three chapters in a book. Water is an interesting topic and the book could have been much more interesting than it turned out. Common sence: stay off the bottled water unless you need it for convenience or if in areas where safe tap water does not exist. Try one of the other books on the topic, I gave up about an hour short of the end.
"Shocking Truth about Bottled Water"
This is a very thought-provoking book not just about the 'evils' of the bottled water industry, but about the psychological reasons why we have become so accustomed to treating water as another commodity instead of a natural element which should be freely available to all. It never occurred to me until I read this book that bottled water might herald an era where investment in water infrastructure is neglected, and tap water is allowed to decline in quality. A very scary thought indeed.
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