It’s summer again, and with summer comes increased consumption
of liquid refreshment.
Our industrial economy has devised many ways of refreshing us. All
of them involve parting with some of our money, and most of them
involve “signing on” to a corporate identity or lifestyle
image. The beverage folks have even lured some of us into displaying
corporate logos on clothing and accessories, thereby making us extensions
of corporate marketing programs.
Along with all of this goes the cost — and waste — of
packaging. Even “recyclable” aluminum, plastic, and
glass containers impose a heavy burden on the environment.
Here’s a suggestion: resolve to consume more of your liquid
refreshment in the form of water: plain old tap water, distilled
or filtered if you prefer, with or without ice or a touch of lemon.
A couple of decades ago social philosopher Ivan Illich invented
the term “radical monopoly.” Radical monopoly isn’t
found in the fact that Coke or Pepsi dominates the soft drink industry.
Radical monopoly lies in the fact that an industrially-produced,
artificially-colored, pre-sweetened, carbonated, refrigerated, packaged
beverage has come to be regarded as the answer to thirst.
When we are thirsty, our bodies are asking for water. Just water.
We don’t have to give up soft drinks entirely. But this summer,
let’s give our bodies more of what they are asking for in
the form of just what they are asking for.
Note: This modest plea first appeared a few years ago in the Heartland
Sierran, newsletter of the Thomas Hart Benton Group of the Sierra
Club in Kansas City.