Ah, Maine! Haunt of Stephen King! Alaska of the Northeast! Land without billboards! (Seriously, they don’t have billboards – it’s kind of awesome.)
We traveled to Maine and what we found on the lips of many of its citizens was…water, water everywhere – and not just because it was 95 degrees in August. From Portland to Augusta to Fryeburg we found that Mainers (or is it Mainiacs?) care a “lattah” ’bout their “wattah.” Heck, we even stayed in a town called Bath for cryin’ out loud (though it’s known more for building naval destroyers than for any tub of water).
Groups such as the Natural Resources Council of Maine are working hard to clean up rivers like the Androscoggin – a body of water once so polluted by paper mills and other industry that thirty-five years ago, when it was considered “too thick to paddle and too thin to plow,” it inspired Maine native, Edmund S. Muskie, to write what would become our nation’s Clean Water Act. Meanwhile, Jim Wilfong (a former Maine legislator, President Clinton’s SBA Assistant Administrator for International Trade, and the founder of H2O For ME) is busy making sure that corporations like Nestlé (owner of Poland Spring bottled water among countless others) play fair with Maine in their rush to suck out groundwater, mark it up by several thousand percent, and sell it to thirsty Americans who don’t realize that bottled water is often less regulated than tap water.
It’s no wonder that a state so full of character and irony is home to some of the most pristine AND polluted water in the country. The next time we crack open a $2 bottle of essentially free water, we’ll just hope that those water-bottling corporations know which is which.
All Wet for Now,
Ben, Mark, and Julie (Your YERT Team)
PS – If all this chat about water has WETted your appetite for more info, here are some Breadcrumbs to dive into!
- Here’s an excellent link to the issue of water privatization around the world and one to the dangers of the bottled water phenomenon.
- H2O for ME has an interesting blog that explores water rights issues in Maine. Excerpt from blog: “For centuries, we have always believed that the water belonged to all of us, to all the citizens of Maine. When we began fighting the clean water battles 30 – 40 years ago, here in Maine and around the country, we were not focused on bulk water extractions, some of which are managed by a large transnational water cartel. They saw something that we took for granted. Our clean water was free and large profits were for the taking as long as the citizens of Maine were asleep. We are no longer asleep and we can protect our water and share in the benefits of our investments.” And here’s a good article summarizing the issue in Maine.
- Dioxins, one of the wonderful “perks” found in rivers near paper mills in Maine and elsewhere, are just tons of fun. Besides being persistent toxins that bioaccumulate, they cause all kinds of fabulous illnesses, disorders, and mutations. Pollutants like dioxins are part of what make people feel the need to buy bottled water. And where do nearly all our bottled-water bottles go when we’re done with them? You guessed it – landfills and incinerators (or the ocean where, according to the UN, on average “over 46,000 pieces of plastic litter are floating on every square mile of ocean today. In the Central Pacific, there are up to 6 pounds of marine litter to every pound of plankton”). And when you incinerate plastic you get…dioxins. Ah the circle of life.
- If paying $35 a case for ordinary bottled water seems ridiculous, here’s a website that offers a little something “extra” for the fleecing. H2Om water with intention (not to be confused with H2O for Maine) has, according to their website, “revolutionized the bottled water industry by creating the world’s first vibrationally charged, interactive bottled water…Infused with the power of positive energy through words, music, colors, symbols and you. Each bottle of H2Om promotes positive thinking and positive energy for people and the planet. Our trademark slogan “Think it while you Drink it” inspires you to use the positive words on the label as the driving force in creating your intention.” Another slogan might be “Think it…costs a whopping $1.50 and produces unnecessary plastic waste…while you Drink it.” While H2Om’s heart may be in the right place, we at YERT have instead decided just to recite some Dr. Phil around the tap as we fill up our reusable canteens. Generally, it seems to work well, although last week Ben accidentally charged Julie and Mark’s water with a combination of low self-esteem, mild schizophrenia, and a predilection for jellybeans. Thankfully, all have made a full recovery.