The Ashokan Reservoir, source of NYC's extremely fine and perfectly delicious tap water.
I am quite pleased about the mounting cultural backlash against bottled water. I've posted links to a couple of related articles in my del.icio.us bookmarks and then came across another one this morning (via TMN's always excellently curated headlines) over on Slate.
In Evian Criminals, Daniel Gross writes about the growing trend of restaurants trading out bottled for tap water. Bottled water is egregiously eco-unconscious, and it's one of the most genius marketing flim-flams of our time.
Gross is relieved at the prospect of the abolition of bottled water, saying: "Whether you're on a date or at a business meal, expressing a preference for tap water generally makes you look cheap." Unlike Gross, I've always been perfectly happy to specify tap over bottled. I'm not cheap, and I'm also not an idiot. Buying water doesn't tell me someone's a sophisticate, but rather that they're a dolt. I am not a fan of the fizzy to begin with, and as discussed in the article, living in NYC most of my life has meant drinking some of the best water there is to be had, straight from my kitchen sink. (Sometimes I'll bust out the Brita, if the chlorine the water is treated with is too overpowering.)
He goes on to expand the premise to the growing trend of buying locally-grown, sustainable food positing that American food culture will suffer if we take this whole sustainability thing too far. He scolds Bay Area foodie nirvana Chez Panisse for the supposed hypocrisy of their international wine list in relation to the recent stand they've taken of not serving bottled water. To which I say: Buh?
Maybe he was just trying to fulfill his word count, but that right there is some lazy thinking. People drink much more water than they do wine. (Hopefully.) Water is free. The fact that we have unfettered access to it is one of those miracles of the modern world that us Westerners have long taken for granted. The trend of bottled water is largely driven by big-time beverage companies scrambling to replace the revenues lost due to waning sales of sodas.
I am much more conscious of this whole carbon-footprint thing. It's hard not to be if you read any mainstream media - I predict that "carbon footprint" is the "truthiness" of 2007. Crying about dead polar bears I see on the TV and worrying about the missing bees has got me trying to figure out steps I can take to make even a small difference. (Futile as those steps might be, my conscience cries out to be placated.) Drinking tap water seems like a small reasonable step, but I'm certainly not on my way to eating root vegetables all through winter because that's all I'll find at Union Square in January.