This is a story about a world obsessed with stuff. It's a story about a system in crisis. We're trashing the planet. We're trashing each other. And we're not even having fun. The good thing is that when we start to understand the system, we start to see lots of places to step in and turn these problems into solutions.
One of the problems with trying to use less stuff is that sometimes we feel like we really need it. What if you live in a city like, say, Cleveland and you want a glass of water? Are you gonna take your chances and get it from the city tap? Or should you reach for a bottle of water that comes from the pristine rainforests of—Fiji? Well, Fiji brand water thought the answer to this question was obvious. So they built a whole ad campaign around it. It turned out to be one of the dumbest moves in advertising history. You see, the city of Cleveland didn't like being the butt of Fiji's jokes. So they did some tests, and guess what? These tests showed a glass of Fiji water is lower quality. It loses taste tests against Cleveland tap, and costs thousands of times more.
This story is typical of what happens when you test bottled water against tap water. Is it cleaner? Sometimes, sometimes not. In many ways, bottled water is less regulated than tap. Is it tastier? In taste tests across the country, people consistently choose tap over bottled water. These bottled water companies say they're just meeting consumer demand. But who would demand a less sustainable, less tasty, way more expensive product, especially when you can get it for almost free in your kitchen? Bottled water costs about 2,000 times more than tap water. Can you imagine paying 2,000 times the price of anything else? How about a 10,000-dollar sandwich? Yet people in the U.S. buy more than half a billion bottles of water every week. That is enough to circle the globe more than five times. How did this come to be?
當你檢測瓶裝水和自來水的時候，這個故事是很典型的結果。它有比較乾淨嗎？有時候有，有時候沒有。在許多方面，瓶裝水的品質管理不如自來水。它有比較好喝嗎？在全國的味道測試中，人們總是選擇自來水而非瓶裝水。這些瓶裝水公司說，他們只是在滿足消費者的需求。但誰會需要一個比較不永續、比較難喝、還貴很多的產品？特別是你根本可以在廚房用幾乎免費的價格喝到？瓶裝水比自來水貴了大約 2,000 倍。你能想像用 2,000 倍的價格買其它東西嗎？一個一萬美金的三明治如何？但美國人每星期購買超過五億瓶的瓶裝水。那已經夠繞地球不只五圈了。怎麼會變這樣？
Well, it all goes back to how our materials economy works, and one of its key drivers which is known as manufactured demand. If companies wanna keep growing, they have to keep selling more and more stuff. In the 1970s, giant soft drink companies got worried as they saw their growth projection starting to level off. There's only so much soda a person can drink. Plus it wouldn't be long before people began realizing soda is not that healthy and turned back to—gasp!—drinking tap water. Well, the companies found their next big idea in a silly designer product that most people laughed off as a passing yuppie fad. "Water's free!" people said back then. "What will they sell us next...air?" So how do you get people to buy this fringe product? Simple. You manufacture demand.
嗯，這全要追溯回我們物質經濟運作的方式，還有一種被稱為「製造出來的需求」的關鍵動力之一。如果公司想要持續成長，他們就得繼續賣越來越多東西。 1970 年代，當大型汽水公司看到他們的業績預期成長開始趨緩時，他們感到不安。一個人就只能喝那麼多汽水啊。再加上人們很快就會了解汽水並不那麼健康，然後回去－－我的天哪!－－回去喝自來水。這個嘛，那些公司在一個愚蠢的設計產品中發現了他們下一個偉大的點子，大部分的人都嘲笑那產品是一時的雅痞風潮。「水是免費的!」人們那時這麼說。「他們接下來會賣什麼給我們...空氣嗎？」所以你要怎麼讓人們買這個邊緣商品？簡單。你製造出需求。
How do you do that? Well, imagine you're in charge of a bottled water company. Since people aren't lining up to trade their hard-earned money for your unnecessary product, you make them feel scared and insecure if they don't have it. And that's exactly what the bottled water industry did. One of their first marketing tactics was to scare people about tap water, with ads like Fiji's Cleveland campaign. "When we're done," one top water executive said, "tap water will be relegated to showers and washing dishes." Next, you hide the reality of your product behind images of pure fantasy. Have you ever noticed how bottled water tries to seduce us with pictures of mountain streams and pristine nature? But guess where a third of all bottled water in the U.S. actually comes from? The tap!
Pepsi's Aquafina and Coke's Dasani are two of the many brands that are really filtered tap water. But the pristine nature lie goes much deeper. In a recent full page ad, Nestle said, "Bottled water is the most environmentally-responsible consumer product in the world." What?! They are trashing the environment all along the product's life cycle. Exactly how is that environmentally responsible? The problems start here with extraction and production where oil is used to make water bottles. Each year, making the plastic water bottles used in the U.S. takes enough oil and energy to fuel a million cars. All that energy spent to make the bottle, even more to ship it around the planet, and then we drink it in about two minutes? That brings us to the big problem at the other end of the life cycle—disposal.
百事公司的 Aquafina 和可口可樂的 Dasani 是眾多品牌中兩個真的是過濾後自來水的品牌。但是原始大自然的謊言還有更誇張的。在最近一個全版廣告中，雀巢公司說：「瓶裝水是全世界對環境最負責任的消費產品。」什麼鬼？!那產品的整個生命週期都在糟蹋環境。那到底哪裡對環境負責了？那個問題從石油的抽取和生產過程就開始了，而石油正是用來製作水瓶的。每年，用來製造美國境內使用的塑膠水瓶的石油和能源都足以供應一百萬輛車了。那全部能源都被用來製作寶特瓶，更多能源被用來運送那寶特瓶到世界各地，然後我們差不多兩分鐘就喝完了？那將我們帶到寶特瓶生命週期另一端的大問題－－廢棄處理。
What happens to all these bottles when we're done? Eighty percent end up in landfills, where they will sit for thousands of years, or in incinerators, where they're burned, releasing toxic pollution. The rest gets collected for recycling. I was curious about where the plastic bottles that I put in the recycling bins go. I found out that shiploads were being sent to India. So I went there. I will never forget riding over a hill outside Madras where I came face-to-face with a mountain of plastic bottles from California.
Now, real recycling would turn these bottles back into bottles. But that wasn't what was happening here. Instead, these bottles were slated to be downcycled, which means turning them into lower quality products that would just be chucked later. The parts that couldn't be downcycled were thrown away there, shipped all the way to India just to be dumped in someone else's backyard. If bottled water companies want to use mountains on their labels, it would be more accurate to show one of these mountains of plastic waste.
Scaring us, seducing us, and misleading us—these strategies are all core parts of manufacturing demand. Once they've manufactured all this demand, creating a new multibillion market, they defend it by beating out the competition. But in this case, the competition is our basic human right to clean, safe drinking water. Pepsi's Vice Chairman publicly said, "The biggest enemy is tap water." They want us to think it's dirty, and bottled water is the best alternative. In many places, public water is polluted, thanks to polluting industries like the plastic bottle industry. And these bottled water guys are all too happy to offer their expensive solutions, which keep us hooked on their products.
It is time we took back the tap. That starts with making a personal commitment to not buy or drink bottled water unless the water in your community is truly unhealthy. Yes, it takes a bit of foresight to grab a reusable bottle on the way out, but I think we can handle it. Then, take the next step: join a campaign that's working for real solutions, like demanding investment in clean tap water for all. In the U.S., tap water is underfunded by 24 billion dollars, partly because people believe drinking water only comes from a bottle!
是我們拿回自來水的時候了。那從許下個人承諾開始，發誓不要買或喝瓶裝水，除非你社區的水真的很不健康。沒錯，出門時攜帶環保杯需要一點先見之明，但我想我們辦得到。然後，採取下一步：加入一個為了真正的解決方法而努力的活動，像是要求為全民投資乾淨的自來水。在美國，自來水資金短缺 240 億美元，這有部分是因為人們相信飲用水只來自塑膠瓶!
Around the world, a billion people don't have access to clean water right now. Yet cities all over are spending millions of dollars to deal with all the plastic bottles we throw out. What if that money was spent improving our water systems, or better yet, preventing pollution to begin with? There are many more things we can do to solve this problem. Lobby your city officials to bring back drinking fountains. Work to ban the purchase of bottled water by your school, your organization, or entire city. This is a huge opportunity for millions of people to wake up, and protect our wallets, our health, and the planet.
The good news is it's already started. Bottled water sales have begun to drop while business is booming for safe, refillable water bottles. Yay! Restaurants are proudly serving tap. And people are choosing to pocket the hundreds of thousands of dollars they would otherwise be wasting on bottled water. Carrying bottled water is on its way to being as cool as smoking while pregnant. We know better now. The bottled water industry is getting worried because the jig is up. We are not buying into their manufactured demand anymore. We will choose our own demands—thank you very much—and we are demanding clean, safe water for all.