Great news everyone, a group at Northwestern is calling for a ban on bottled water on campus.
Dane Stier of the Northwestern Chronicle reports and rejects:
NU Rejects Reason and Morals in Environmentalism
The Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) have recently released their proposal to “Ban the Bottle” on Northwestern’s campus, a plan that would effectively end the sale of bottled water on campus. Considering the purpose of ESW, this proposal, as well as its support from The Daily Northwestern, seemed inevitable. But rather than jumping on the environmentalist bandwagon, I feel it is important to evaluate the potential effectiveness of this plan in achieving its primary goal.
First, it is essential to acknowledge the importance of protecting the environment for our generation and those to come. Individuals involved in ensuring the continued survival of our planet undeniably work in a noble field, especially for those taking a logical, non-sensational approach to the issue.
However, I find ESW’s proposal devoid of reason in its entirety. Its goal, clearly, is to eliminate material waste and force Northwestern students to transition to reusable water bottles. Rather than achieving that noble goal, this plan will have a starkly different outcome. First, students currently carrying reusable water bottles will continue to do so, and students who buy bottled water will not, for the most part, go green with reusable bottles. Reusable bottles are supplied to new students already (and are often available for free on campus throughout the year), so everyone who prefers that method already engages in it. Instead, bottled water will be purchased off campus in bulk (as many students already do) and soda will be sold on campus more frequently as a primary alternative.
So what will be the net effect of the plan? Less money spent on campus, unhealthier students, and just as many water bottles being used. Many of the students who support “Ban the Bottle” even agree that it will be wholly ineffective. Yet it makes students feel good about themselves and their actions, and is justified by them as such. Quite simply, it achieves nothing more than the illusion of environmental friendliness, while filling landfills just as fast.