The Story Behind Our Obsession with Bottled Water
On Sale: April 20, 2010
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Peter Gleick knows water. A world-renowned scientist and
freshwater expert, Gleick is a MacArthur
Foundation "genius," and according to the BBC, an
environmental visionary. And he drinks from the tap. Why
don't the rest of us?
Bottled and Sold shows how water went
from being a free natural resource to one of the most
successful commercial products of the last one hundred
years-and why we are poorer for it. It's a big story and
water is big business.
Every second of every day in the
United States, a thousand people buy a plastic bottle of
water, and every second of every day a thousand more throw
one of those bottles away. That adds up to more than thirty
billion bottles a year and tens of billions of dollars of
sales. Are there legitimate reasons to buy all those
With a scientist's eye and a natural storyteller's
wit, Gleick investigates whether industry claims about the
relative safety, convenience, and taste of bottled versus
tap hold water. And he exposes the true reasons we've
turned to the bottle, from fearmongering by business
interests and our own vanity to the breakdown of public
systems and global inequities.
"Designer" H2O may be
laughable, but the debate over commodifying water is deadly
serious. It comes down to society's choices about human
rights, the role of government and free markets, the
importance of being "green," and fundamental values. Gleick
gets to the heart of the bottled water craze, exploring
what it means for us to bottle and sell our most basic
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