Campaign to ban bottled water sales in national parks targets GGNRA

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The Warming Hut at Crissy Field and other GGNRA spots have many faucets to fill water bottles.
Courtesy of Corporate Accoutability Intl.

UPDATED A national campaign to ban the sale of disposal plastic water and soda bottles in our national parks – which is being actively opposed by Coca-Cola and others who bottle and sell water, that most basic of life-sustaining resources – has arrived in San Francisco as it targets Yosemite and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

“We have thousands of people in the area who are very supportive and working hard on this,” Alyse Opatowski, an organizer with Corporate Accountability International's Think Outside the Bottle campaign, told the Guardian.

Opatowski and a host of local supporters – including Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, Sierra Club Chapter Executive Director Michelle Meyer, and Hans Florine, who holds a world record for speed climbing in Yosemite – will rally tomorrow (Wed/27) at 10:30am in Crissy Field to publicize the campaign and hold a blind taste tasting comparing San Francisco tap water to bottled waters.

And we know who wins that one, right? San Franciscans are justifiably proud of our water, the best urban water in the country, arriving to us through what's essentially a gravity-fed straw from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir adjacent to Yosemite. Even though that project broke famed naturalist John Muir's heart a century ago, it was a engineering marvel and enduring source of clean power and water that we voted overwhelmingly to protect in November when voters rejected a study of the sentimentalists' dream of removing it.

But back to the issue at hand: activists say that selling single-use water bottles in the national parks in antithetical to environmental stewardship. Health advocates have made some progress in curtailing our addiction to soda, but those crafty soda companies responded by commodifying that which is available basically for free in every locality in the country. And they aren't about to give up that market without a fight.

Coca-Cola – whose spokespeople haven't yet returned out calls for comment – gives lots of money to the National Parks Foundation and has used that influence to stall efforts to have the National Parks Service ban bottled water. So the campaign is targetting individual regions, including the GGNRA, which seems well positioned to advance the cause.

Cheers to that.

UPDATE 3/27: American Beverage Association spokesperson Chuck Finnie issued a prepared statement to us that began, "Eliminating plastic bottles altogether isn't the answer because it limits personal choice and doesn't address the bigger picture. People should have the choice to decide how they drink water in a National Park -- from a bottle of water, from a water fountain, or from a refillable container. While making that choice, they should be educated on the benefits of recycling and ways to do so."

Comments

not to buy bottled water. It's quite another thing to seek to stop others from doing so.

We've been thru this so many times and it's always tedious. Banning horse meat, foie gras, plastic bags, happy meal toys etc. etc.

Why can't people just butt out of the affairs of others, and cherish what freedom really means? Choice.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 26, 2013 @ 5:28 pm

your self appointed betters like Steve Jones knows whats best for you. These self appointed have made their choice for you.

Posted by matlock on Mar. 26, 2013 @ 5:48 pm

Yes, let's continue throwing stuff away forever, because the earth is an infinite source and an infinite sink and we can just monetize all of this in a libertarian market wonderland.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 26, 2013 @ 5:58 pm

and then throwing it away after one use? ANYTHING can be thrown away. Unless the next step is garbage police who can arrest and jail offenders.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Mar. 26, 2013 @ 6:11 pm

for doing such things as tossing toxic paints or pesticides into her garbage. The *regular* police will be called. (Hear that noise Lucretia? That might be them *right* *now* poking at an oil sump in your backyard.)

Anyhow, there can be a nice little fee on the refillable bottle which will cover any costs for recycling it when it is all used up. That will no doubt bring to total cost every time she's moved to so destroy herself and the world around her that way to about $9/per.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 26, 2013 @ 6:35 pm

Some things tend to get thrown away a lot more than others. Those small plastic water containers tend to get thrown away a lot more than something more durable. And when society makes it easier to throw plastic away - even in effect encourages it which is what those ppl in the article are trying to change - then it's not surprising when the result is a society living in an environment where plastic, nonbiodegradable garbage is everywhere.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 26, 2013 @ 8:40 pm

It making choices for others.

If people vote with their money and make the correct choice it's a win, if people are too stupid to make the correct choice then the freedom of choice is defaulted to progressives who will make it for you.

I think I have bought maybe two dozen water bottles in my entire life by the way. A few of them are in my fridge right now.

Posted by matlock on Mar. 26, 2013 @ 6:31 pm

I'm okay with government making choices like sewers.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 26, 2013 @ 6:57 pm

Interesting that you should notice that.

Posted by anon on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 5:57 am

Sure beats cholera.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 7:19 am

government intervention is the improvements in public health that were achieved 150 years ago, then you are in more trouble than even I thought.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 7:49 am

If you aren't going to take any responsibility for your actions - according to you "hey it's freedom of choice, I can do what I want, the consequences to you don't matter to me" - and those actions hurt other people either directly or indirectly, don't be surprised if those people fight back and tell you what you're doing is not gonna be accepted.

Your attitude is similar to the one lots of smokers used to have before restrictions on where cigarettes could be smoked. They'd blow smoke anywhere - including in the faces of people who didn't want it in their face - without a care in the world.

It's time to get out of your dream, selfish world where only you matter - it's a dream world not the real world.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 26, 2013 @ 8:28 pm
Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Mar. 26, 2013 @ 8:38 pm

a pro lifer.

Posted by matlock on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 12:47 am

Unfortunately for you, there are some ppl in this world who, unlike you, care about this world, about keeping the water and air as clean as reasonably possible, about keeping plastic out of the environment as much as reasonably possible.

What you're advocating for is a world where everyone is supposed to put their heads in the sand so that no one has to think about the consequences of their actions or society's collective actions. That's idiotic, insane, foolish, shortsighted for starters.

Fortunately for me, a large % of ppl see how foolish and idiotic what you advocate for is.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 26, 2013 @ 8:15 pm

micromanage everyone else and have petty rules for everything. Restricting freedoms should be the exception, and yet it seems that it is becoming the rule.

Posted by anon on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 5:58 am

Massive pollution from massive # of little plastic water containers is hardly "micromanaging everyone." If you don't believe in responsibility for keeping the environmt as clean as reasonably possible, then go inside your own house or apt and get THAT as dirty as you wish. But here's news for you, you don't own the environment - we all do (at least what we're talking about here) - and if you're gonna be one to needlessly pollute it, you should lose all rights to use it for you've let it be known you are detrimental to it. And thus you are lowering the value of everyone's asset.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 3:39 pm

oil spill?

Or do you mean the odd bottle I see lying around?

Posted by anon on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 3:50 pm

Again - how are the proponents of this "ban" dealing with the fact that San Francisco already successfully recycles a large percentage of its plastic bottles, tubs etc? Where is the evidence that those who buy plastic bottles either thrown them on the ground in national parks or gleefully toss them into the ocean?

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 3:59 pm

plastic bottles would not be a problem in the first place.

Posted by anon on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 6:02 am

Your math logic isn't very logical. 95% of the ppl could be for it and plastic bottles could still be a problem from the 5% greedy dumb fools. And in any group of ppl, there will be greedy and / or stupid fools which is why these kinds of measures are needed. It only takes a small % of fools like yourself to ruin it for a large %, probably the majority, who know how stupid it is to pollute an area needlessly with small water bottles.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 3:44 pm

Why not offer some alternative packaging solutions rather than trying to pass yet another freedom-stiffing law?

Posted by anon on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 3:49 pm
Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Mar. 26, 2013 @ 5:43 pm
Posted by Guest on Mar. 26, 2013 @ 5:54 pm

If you or she can't figure out that there's probably a drinking fountain within a hundred yards or so, and you're too afraid to ask someone for a drink, then I guess evolution is gonna do it's thing and take out the dummies like it often does.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 26, 2013 @ 8:47 pm

Couldn't be bothered to filter that Merced River water...

Posted by marcos on Mar. 26, 2013 @ 9:49 pm
Posted by anon on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 6:00 am

I'm sure the park stores would sell refillable bottles.

Vendors could also package their products in reusable packages.

The sky never really falls.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 26, 2013 @ 6:09 pm

Ban water in national parks.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Mar. 26, 2013 @ 6:28 pm

Think of it! It's like there *could* actually be a law against stupidity.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 26, 2013 @ 6:25 pm
Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Mar. 26, 2013 @ 6:50 pm

It's your wanting to take that freedom away from everyone else that grates. Where does the line ever get drawn?

Posted by anon on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 5:59 am

Everything Good Must Be Mandatory!

Everything Bad Must Be Prohibited!

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 6:00 am
Posted by anon on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 6:59 am

Good People need to control the behavior of Bad People.

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 10:52 am

who is good and who is bad.

The left never suffer from such self-doubt.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 11:25 am

OK we can do without plastic water bottles, OK they end up as littler, OK they are also plastics.

Why not have working drinking fountains, but what some of these are so poorly kept up, and the other day say homeless man brushing his teeth. No Kidding. Leave the water bottles along, find something else. How about selling cokes in glass bottles, eat at a places that don't serve food on plastic plates or containers. Don't use plastic bags, buy beer in card board containers.

I don't buy beer in 6 packs, that dang plastic thing that holds the cans together, I really think that has done more harm.

Posted by Garrett on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 8:17 am

Biodegradable plastic, anyone?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 10:13 am

There's more the story about why GGNRA is making it so difficult to ban plastic bottles. The edict froms from on high: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/10/science/earth/parks-chief-blocked-plan...

Posted by Ted on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 8:44 am

What do you guys think of the campaign? In my point of view, going bottled water free is absolutely beneficial to all of us. First, more environmentally friendly and safer for us to drink tap water! o don't hesitate to support the campaign!!!

Posted by Rita Sin on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 8:46 pm

A full scale ban of plastic bottles in our national parks would be a massive change in the right direction when it comes to being green, despite some profit loss for an extremely wealthy and thriving company like Coca-Cola. I think arguing that not letting people drink water from a single use bottle is taking away their freedom is completely ridiculous. If they weren’t allowing people to drink water in general then I’d agree with you. The mission statement of the NPS clearly states that their goal is"...to promote and regulate the use of the national parks, which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." I’m pretty sure greatly reducing the amount of plastic bottles in the environment would be holding true to their intended purpose as an agency. I’ve worked in parks throughout my entire working life and believe me, water bottles end up everywhere, especially on shorelines. They affect the habitat that you are paying to see by making it ugly and hurt the animals that live in it. Would you like it if millions of people were in your house dropping plastic bottles all year? Regarding the issue of safety and dehydration, water stations can easily be added along trails so people can either refill their water bottles, or use small paper cups if they forgot their bottle. This can also be an opportunity for Coca-Cola/Dasani to sell large, 5 gallon sized bottles of water to the NPS for people to use for refilling their personal bottles. People won’t be consuming less water, so basically it’ll just be delivered in a “greener” way so everyone wins. The company should use this as an opportunity to evolve in a positive way, rather than make up statements about people losing their freedom and promoting wasteful consumption. The earth’s resources are not unlimited.

Posted by zeke on Mar. 02, 2014 @ 7:24 pm

A full scale ban of plastic bottles in our national parks would be a massive change in the right direction when it comes to being green, despite some profit loss for an extremely wealthy and thriving company like Coca-Cola. I think arguing that not letting people drink water from a single use bottle is taking away their freedom is completely ridiculous. If they weren’t allowing people to drink water in general then I’d agree with you. The mission statement of the NPS clearly states that their goal is"...to promote and regulate the use of the national parks, which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." I’m pretty sure greatly reducing the amount of plastic bottles in the environment would be holding true to their intended purpose as an agency. I’ve worked in parks throughout my entire working life and believe me, water bottles end up everywhere, especially on shorelines. They affect the habitat that you are paying to see by making it ugly and hurt the animals that live in it. Would you like it if millions of people were in your house dropping plastic bottles all year? Regarding the issue of safety and dehydration, water stations can easily be added along trails so people can either refill their water bottles, or use small paper cups if they forgot their bottle. This can also be an opportunity for Coca-Cola/Dasani to sell large, 5 gallon sized bottles of water to the NPS for people to use for refilling their personal bottles. People won’t be consuming less water, it’ll just be delivered in a “greener” way. The company should use this as an opportunity to evolve in a positive way, rather than make up statements about people losing their freedom and promoting wasteful consumption. The earth’s resources are not unlimited.

Posted by zeke on Mar. 02, 2014 @ 7:27 pm

A full scale ban of plastic bottles in our national parks would be a massive change in the right direction when it comes to being green, despite some profit loss for an extremely wealthy and thriving company like Coca-Cola. I think arguing that not letting people drink water from a single use bottle is taking away their freedom is completely ridiculous. If they weren’t allowing people to drink water in general then I’d agree with you. The mission statement of the NPS clearly states that their goal is"...to promote and regulate the use of the national parks, which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." I’m pretty sure greatly reducing the amount of plastic bottles in the environment would be holding true to their intended purpose as an agency. I’ve worked in parks throughout my entire working life and believe me, water bottles end up everywhere, especially on shorelines. They affect the habitat that you are paying to see by making it ugly and hurt the animals that live in it. Would you like it if millions of people were in your house dropping plastic bottles all year? Regarding the issue of safety and dehydration, water stations can easily be added along trails so people can either refill their water bottles, or use small paper cups if they forgot their bottle. This can also be an opportunity for Coca-Cola/Dasani to sell large, 5 gallon sized bottles of water to the NPS for people to use for refilling their personal bottles. People won’t be consuming less water, so basically it’ll just be delivered in a “greener” way so everyone wins. The company should use this as an opportunity to evolve in a positive way, rather than make up statements about people losing their freedom and promoting wasteful consumption. The earth’s resources are not unlimited.

Posted by zeke on Mar. 02, 2014 @ 7:36 pm