Our market-driven economy enshrines consumer choice as one of its highest virtues. The other day I was standing in line at the grocery store, looking at the bottled water, and I just had to take a snapshot of what I was seeing. This is only a portion of the water case.
I can buy water from Italy or France or Fiji or Hawaii or Iceland. I can buy water with odd molecular super powers: it’s oxygenated or alkaline or…something? Buying a bottle of water in certain stores in Los Angeles in the year 2016 can be as exquisitely nuanced a process as buying a bottle of wine.
When it comes to buying water, I have tons of choices–as long as I have no problem with generating utterly unnecessary plastic waste, or with flying my drinking water across the world (a gesture that even Marie Antoinette may have found excessive), or with paying exorbitant sums for this folly.
In other words, I am perfectly free to buy into this group psychosis which is our contemporary culture.
What I cannot have is a free sip of water from a functioning water fountain. They are as rare as hen’s teeth in these parts-or perhaps I should say, rare as pay phones.
What I cannot have is tap water in my home which I can drink without filtering it.
What I cannot have is clean water running in my streams and rivers, or even an ocean clean enough to forage from. Sometimes, it’s not even clean enough to swim in it.
But oh yes, I have plenty of choice.