Environmental Justice & Sustainability

Taking Water for Granted


What are some things New Yorkers take for granted? Sanitation, transportation, electricity, water… New Yorkers do enjoy complaining about things when they are not instantaneously fixed or cause a 5-minute inconvenience in their day, but what happened if it stopped? Say what you will about ConEdison—it’s troublesome in the summer for sure and certain areas of the city too have their own bones to pick with the company—but it does its job in providing the city with electricity to keep it running. While it has its failing moments, I never worry that the lights will just not turn on or the stove will not ignite. In some parts of the world, a candle remains the best and only source of light at night and families use a fire pit for their cooking. Similarly, I never worry that water won’t flow from my faucet, while in other countries people travel miles to get fresh water every day.

My first thought for what I would do that was environmentally conscious was to turn off the lights and fan in my dorm room whenever I left it, this included cooking in the kitchen or visiting my friends’ rooms down the hall. It later dawned on me that I didn’t have really any impact in the building where lights in the hallway stay on 24/7. I would just give myself extra stress by constantly being surrounded by bright lights, not helping in my goal to be environmentally conscious.  So instead I’ve decided to stick to bottled water for the rest of the semester. I will be honest and not begin to claim that I always drink fountain water. That I don’t own a case of water bottles that I keep in my room, but I am committing myself to change.

New Yorkers, I believe, take water for granted the most. We have some of the cleanest tap water in the world here in the US and easily some of the best in NYC. Thinking back to the inhumane debacle featuring the Flint, MO government and their conscious decision to not fix a problem plaguing an entire population was an insult to their human dignity and still maddens me today. In New York people complain about water leaks and have issues fixed in a matter of days, but imagine years—the whole lifetime of a toddler who now has mental problems from too much exposure to lead like those children from Flint.

Water bottling companies will have you believe their water is fresh from nature or will make you smarter… Bullocks!

There is nothing wrong with NYC tap water and unless someone knows their water for some reason is unsafe, no one should fear it as being unclean. The Story of Stuff Project’s video titled “The Story of Bottled Water” takes on many of the lies that bottled water companies spew in order to promote business; they make it clear how environmentally “un”-friendly the companies are. Fiji, Aquafina and Dasani, among others, fool us into believing that they are purer. That their water is shipped from almost magical island waters. They’re bottled water comes straight from river water freshly rushing down a mountain stream. That’s just not true. For the semester I’ve decided to make it my mission to drink tap and fountain water and break my bad habit of buying $1 water bottles when I see them being sold on the corner.


The Story of Stuff Project. “The Story of Bottled Water (2010).” YouTube. Ed. Free Range

Studios. YouTube, 17 Mar. 2010. Web. 04 Sept. 2016.


5 thoughts on “Taking Water for Granted

  1. I’m so glad you’re planning on drinking tap water instead of bottled water more this semester! Not only do the plastic bottles leach chemicals into the water, but indeed, all those plastic bottles do no pleasant favor to the earth. It’s so unfortunate that many cities don’t have clean and safe tap water. I live in Lodi, NJ and the water here is not that good so, unfortunately, my family uses bottled gallons of water for drinking. I really don’t like using plastic bottled water because it’s not healthy for me or the environment, but I’m afraid of drinking my town’s heavily chlorinated and contaminated tap water. I’m afraid using a Brita filter won’t suffice, and other filter options are complicated and expensive since I rent an apartment and don’t plan on living here after I graduate college in a year. However, what I do is take advantage of NYC’s water (and Hunter has filtered water stations!) all day while I’m in the city, and I even fill up my glass bottle before I head home. You’re very lucky to live in NYC, which has some of the cleanest water! I’m looking forward to the day that I move into the city– so I could freely drink clean water (and even shower in it! Let’s not get started on how bad it is to shower in heavily chlorinated and contaminated water).

    P.s I like the caption in your water bottles photo. 😄

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I like this. We don’t think about how water is so readily available to us on a day to day basis as New Yorkers (and maybe in some other large cities in the U.S.). If our five minute routine is interrupted, we’re quick to get annoyed, but it’s not until something becomes an ongoing issue do we realize the gravity of the situation. I’m interested in where you were going with your Con Ed point. Admittedly I’m not sure what you were trying to say there, or if there’s a bigger picture that I’m not seeing. Maybe I could just pick up a newspaper and answer my own question; but either way, I’d like to hear what you have to say on it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey thanks for commenting on my blog post. I take that alone as a compliment! So what I was saying about ConEdison I’ll try to say again in different words. Many people have issues with ConEdison. Yes it brings us electricity but certain times of the year it fizzles out, for example air conditioners, I know from my experience in Queens, tend to move slower on hotter days because ConEdison is conserving energy. Also there have been power outages before and sometimes they aren’t fixed within the day but longer like weeks. So basically ConEdison does have some problems. But overall there’s no way we’d be functioning in the city without so people should be happier with what they got! Hope that helps!


  3. This entry really struck home. In high school, I always had re-useable bottles with me every day. However, with school work and regular work, I get lazy about doing the dishes and cleaning my re-usable bottles so I always opt in for water bottles because it’s just easier. Pick it up and go. Lately, I’ve been so disgusted with the amount of water bottles that I myself use within the household that I make the effort to make sure there are always clean and ready-for-use re-usable bottles around the house. If I slip and happen to drink from a water bottle, then I re-use that bottle a few times! I believe that the use of water bottles and the use of plastic bags go hand-in-hand and I fail to understand how people cannot understand the dangers overuse causes. I am with you in this effort!

    Liked by 1 person

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