Rooted in the notion that clean drinking water, like air, is a God-given resource that shouldn't be packaged and sold, a fledgling campaign against the bottling of water has sprung up among religious groups. And though the campaign is at a relative trickle and confined mostly to left-leaning religious groups, activists hope to build a broad-based coalition to carry the message that access to water should not be restricted to those who can afford it.
Cassandra Carmichael, director of eco-justice programs for the National Council of Churches, said she has noted an increasing number of religious groups that consider the bottling of water a wrongful - perhaps immoral - act. "We're just beginning to recognize the issue as people of faith," Carmichael said.
In October, the National Coalition of American Nuns, a progressive group representing 1,200 U.S. nuns, adopted a resolution asking members to refrain from purchasing bottled water unless necessary.
Likewise, Presbyterians for Restoring Creation, a grassroots group within the Presbyterian Church USA, launched a campaign in May urging individuals to sign a pledge against drinking bottled water and to take the message to their churches. . .
Americans consume more bottled water than any other type of beverage except carbonated soft drinks, according to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, a New York-based research organization. In 2005, Americans drank about 7.5 billion gallons of bottled water, a 10.4 percent increase from 2004. The U.S. leads the world in bottled-water consumption.
At the same time, one-third of the world's population lives in water-stressed conditions. That proportion will double by 2025, according to a 2006 United Nations report on water scarcity. Water is scarcest in arid developing countries plagued by drought and pollution, such as South Africa, where agriculture fuels demand.
Presbyterians for Restoring Creation: Bottled Water Campaign
NCC Eco-Justice Programs
H/T to Undernews for alerting me about this story.
Canadian churches are already turning off the tap on bottled water.
Related post: Groundwater as a public trust resource