Starbucks sells a brand of water called Ethos Water. I’m sure all you ‘ethical’ bastards out there have purchased a bottle or two when you’ve gone to the monster coffee shoppe to buy a ventisimo, frapacisimo, americanissimo latte. But it’s not just any water it’s Ethos Water. It has morals. It follows an ethical code and for that you pay $2.
You bought it cause you were thirsty… totally human. But they got taps. Several of them. Do you know what kind of miracle that is? Running water everywhere with just a twist of the wrist. And somewhere along this murderous corporatist path we’ve been brainwashed into believing that the water we already pay for that flows from our taps is bad and dirty and the one that comes in plastic bottles is clean? Man we’re dumb. Stupid as hell. I hope aliens are feasting on our brains right now like it’s junk food cause we don’t use them.
The idea behind this brand is that every time you buy Ethos Water, you help children around the world get clean water. Ahhh. How sweet. So by drinking the thing that children are having a hard time finding, we’re helping them get it? Does this make any fuckin sense to you cause my brain just farted and boy does it stink.
For every $2 bottle that Ethos sells, Starbucks donates a whopping 5 cents toward solving the world water crisis. Profit is not only king in this equation but it’s laughing at the donation, taunting it even. Profit’s like, “Oh yeah you think you’re so big dawg!” I know how to solve the world water crisis. STOP BUYING BOTTLED WATER. Not only is it choking to death over a million sea birds and marine animals a year but it takes 3 litres of water to produce 1 litre of bottled water. Did you hear that? The irony in this scheme is luscious.
When we put the amount of water used to make bottled water in a global context it’s Haywire. I don’t mean the 80s Canadian hard rock band Haywire (although their hit single Dance Desire really made me feel sexy), I mean ‘out of control’. In China the energy used for the bottled water industry is the equivalent of 88% to 161% of the total electricity generated by the Three Gorges Damn. God damn that’s a lot dam. Just to give you an idea of how big this god damn dam is, it’s one and half miles wide and 610 feet tall. It’s China’s largest construction project since the Great Wall. I know… that floored me too. Or leveled me. It just depends if you relate more to ‘above sea level’ idioms or ‘below sea level’ idioms. I’ll speak from either level as long as I connect to you.
Here’s a photo I took of the Three Gorges Dam!
Now for the piece-de-resistance. Take a guess where they were sourcing all the water for the Ethos brand up until May of this year? Right in sunny, drought-stricken California. The ethics behind this douche bag business practice are evil. It’s watercide. Pure unabashed watercide. The only reason they stopped doing it was because Mother Jones told on their ass. Thanks Mamma Jones for kicking some devil dick.
Then there’s the waste. Americans throw away 35 billion plastic water bottles a year. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? That’s a lot of Americans. (I’m sorry, that one was just for me). In Toronto we consume 100 million plastic bottles a year. Guess what? I just found all the clean water that the children are looking for.
This business is so sinister that when San Francisco announced their bottled water ban, The American Beverage Association, which includes Coca-Cola Co. and Pepsi Co. said in a statement that the ban was “nothing more that a solution in search of a problem. This is a misguided attempt by city supervisors to decrease waste in a city of avid recyclers.” So they’re saying, we should continue making bottled water because people are good at recycling? Excuse me while I stand in front of an oncoming train because that would hurt less than this diabolical lie.
Perhaps one of the worst assaults on the environment is how many plastic water bottles end up in the ocean. As we speak there’s an ever expanding island of plastic debris (of which water bottles make up 10%), 30 metres deep and bigger than the province of Quebec that swooshes in the North Pacific off the coast of California. How poetic! A glorious monument to the sheer idiocy of our species erected from containers that once held water, now swirling in water outside of a state that has no more water. All wielded by the invisible hand of the free market. Bravo.
And so we’ve arrived at the plot twist of our story. It lies in the very definition of the word Ethos which is the characteristic spirit of a culture, era or community as manifested in its beliefs and aspirations. Truly fitting. Because the enduring spirit of our era has been to mine, exploit, manipulate and sell the hell out of life on this planet. To suck it dry and throw it out.