Saturday, March 31, 2012

Drink WAT-AAH Part 2

Yeah. I did it. I was at the Natural Products Expo West, and, walking about, I spied a company I had previously pretty much trashed in a blog entry 2 years ago. ( Sure, I had a moment when I thought I would just sneer and walk past, but then something came over me, and I walked right up to the lady there at the big colorful booth for WAT-AAH and flat-out stated, "Hi. I trashed your product in my blog." She exclaimed, "WHY would you do that??" We laughed (because I really actually AM a nice person), and had a very nice talk for the next 10 minutes or so.

I told her that I did not think bottled water aimed at kids was necessary, and that it set a dangerous example for later in life. She pointed out how their company attempts to get kids to get excited about drinking healthy water over soda or sugary juices and sports drinks. Valid. Going back to my original post, I did actually give them credit for that. (Shocking - I DID research before writing. Ha!) She pointed out their Healthy Hydration Program. I went to their site to read more about it, but the immediate noises that come up when you get there sets me off every time. And then my computer hung up anyway. Seems Google Chrome wasn't fond of the site either. It's a valid program. Good ideas. Kids SHOULD drink water instead of crappy sugary high-fructose-corn-syrupy things. I agree. She said their product has no flavor, sugar, or color, and they rely on fun colors on the bottles and fun to attract kids. She told me a bit about their Juvenile Diabetes Event. OK, they are a pretty into-it company, for sure. Good stuff.

They have great intentions. And the woman I spoke with, Carol (the owner, it turns out), was a very nice very lovely lady. Do they get a pass?

Mmmmm.... no. Sorry, Carol. I know you tried.

I cannot get behind any single-use plastic bottle usage. Are there situations when they are a necessity? Probably. But the 'fridge at home is not one of them. Running around with the kids is NOT one of them, much as parents like to say it is. Sporting events? No, not really. Why don't kids have reusable bottles with their names on them on the sidelines? How many half-empty bottles of this stuff gets picked up at the end of the game, how many kids grabbed another and half-drank it because they lost track of their original one? How much waste??? "Well, we recycle them." Um, no, we don't. We throw them in a bin and feel great about ourselves, but in reality, it is a giant crap-shoot that any of them actually get recycled, or really, down-cycled. More likely, they are contributing to the Giant Plastic Problem we have. Should we be avoiding plastic bottles as much as possible instead? Heck yah. Just because bottles no longer have BPA in them, does that mean there are not still unknown chemicals leeching out into that water that your precious angels are drinking? Mmm hmm. Remember a few years ago when we were ignorant of BPA? Think that can't happen again with another chemical? Mmm hmmm. It is seriously short-sighted to not think about that.

I also went back to read the comments from that earlier post. Apparently, bottled water strikes a nerve when it hits parents in the Big Convenience. I'm including here most of what a Dad said (not edited):

"I read you're blog because Im a Dad with a child that drinks WAT-AAH! all the time. I also make sure to re-use the bottles we buy whenever we can - and of course, we also recycle them.
Im as environmentally conscious as the next guy but I gotta say, reading this blog, Im betting you dont have kids. Nieces and nephews maybe, but not your own. I dont say that as a dig, but when you're running around town and your kids really thirsty and he or she can pick from one of the 400 bottles (plastic bottles) of sugary syrup or this water brand, I'm more than happy to throw down to encourage that decision."

I replied very nicely and with a conciliatory tone, but you know what? I've changed my mind. I already covered the part where throwing them in a bin does not recycling assure. And when you are "running around town," did you NOT think ahead that perhaps at some point your little joys would perhaps, oh, I don't know, get thirsty and plan accordingly? Or do you find yourself having to BUY stuff, because you couldn't be bothered to plan ahead? How about getting your kids in the habit to grab their own reusable bottles as you all head out to go buy stuff? (Wow, Green Witch, what a good idea!) No, I don't have kids. And hey there! Your having kids, by the way, is NOT an excuse to trash the planet I also happen to enjoy. If anything, you should be even more careful and more responsible. Heck, I should be the one gleefully trashing it. But lookit that: I am not.

I pointed out to Carol (who really IS a great lady, I felt good about meeting her, and I really did digest all the things she took the time to tell me) that perhaps giving young kids these throw-aways was setting them up for bad habits into adulthood. She disagreed, feeling that kids who drank WAT-AAH grew up to be more responsible. Meh... I have to think I might be closer to the mark. Yes, WAT-AAH is a better choice than the other things in this picture here, but we SURE as heck do NOT need bottled water in the fridge or cupboards at home. There are no Earth-shattering emergencies that come along every random day that require this. A typical Summer day does NOT need the child running into the kitchen and grabbing a bottle like this. Run in and grab your personal bottle, great. But not this. Not the regular size, not the cute little size, no, this is not remotely necessary. While "running around" is not necessary. It really just isn't. Period.

Plus, they were downing them at the booth during the Expo. I know, it's all about showing how you use your own product... but yeah. Not so much. How many empty bottles after a weekend... and for what?

For what?



I'm pretty sure we had sports and run-around days way back before the plastic bottle craze. And, funny, we're still here. We didn't die of thirst. Oh - and how funny, we didn't have nearly the obesity and diabetes that we have in kids now. How ever did we manage, you know, with Life being SO darned... inconvenient?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wasting Water is Weird

Have you seen this ad campaign? Here's the gist: "Wasting water is weird. It really is when you think about it—and that’s the problem. We don’t. You see, there’s this moment when using water becomes wasting water. That’s when things start getting weird. But don’t take our word for it. Just watch Rip..."

I couldn't have actually said it better myself. I love these ads. They are so true. We don't think about it. We don't think about it at all. Why is that?

Is it because water usage is so far removed from the water bill? If there were a little meter ringing up dollar signs on your faucet, would you pay closer attention? Should we start doing that? Is it too easy to turn on the faucet and zone out? Why do we take this precious resource for granted so badly?

I never complain about rain, because I know I use water, and, duh, it needs replenished. Rain means clean. Rain means life. Rain should be captured and returned to the Earth, not collected just to run off uselessly to the ocean, like it does here in Los Angeles. Flowers bloom, grasses bloom, dog-pee smells get washed away when it rains. Do you take a shower? Flush a toilet? Then trust me, you want it to rain sometimes. Next time someone complains about rain to you, tell them that they smell pretty good for someone who never showers. 

So I love this campaign and I love Rip the Drip and I hope more people see this. If just a few people think a little bit more about it, and make other people think just a little more about it... well, maybe then we won't be AS screwed as we probably will be anyway. Maybe not as soon. 

Eh. Maybe. Pass it around anyway. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Easy Things

On a perfect rainy Sunday afternoon (rare in Southern California), my perfect thing is to make sauce for a nice rainy-day dinner. The simmering smell takes me back and makes everything feel extra homey.

Cooking is fun for me and I love when I can do it. I like spending time in the kitchen, I love my enameled cast-iron (as constant readers know), and I get to thinking of things as I prepare ingredients. Today, it was of chopping onions. We have so many fun tools to chop onions, so that our hands don't have to smell. So that it's fast and easy. So we don't cry from the odor. I've had these things. They are made of plastic. When they break, we throw them away, because hey, they are cheap, and wow, you can't fix them AT ALL. Plastic things, when broken, are usually rendered useless. I would actually never remember to grab this thing. I like chopping onions with a knife. A good chef's knife is the best thing in the world for your kitchen. I don't care that my onions pieces are not uniform. I don't care that my hands smell like onions for a few minutes afterwards. I don't mind that it takes a few extra minutes.

Why this driving need for ease and convenience and making everything so darn mess-free? Why do we not give a second thought to what we are doing in the long run, simply because we think the worst thing in the world is to have to handle an onion for a few minutes? To me, activities are more worth-while if I have to spend time and care on them. So, why all this stuff? Choppers, cutters, food processors, every single one of them made of cheap plastic and designed to break after just a little bit of time, so that a new one needs to be purchased by the same consumer.

Isn't that kind of insane? Is it me? I think it's a little insane. How long do we keep a good knife over a lifetime, versus how many of these things? What are we doing with all this extra time we have from these things? Why don't we just value the time it takes to do things anymore?


Sunday, March 25, 2012

PeopleTowels: Small Act, Big Impact

The Natural Products Expo West was a few weeks ago, and I combed the aisles for 3 days looking for great products about which to tell you. I was not disappointed. 

The most exciting gem was SO great that I was impatient to write! Was it Mary Wallace, co-founder of PeopleTowels, that I just plain grooved with because she was so cool? Well, that was part of it. I mean, I already don't personally use very many paper towels at all. But of course, anything that helps and that I can get the word out on, I'm going to love. Here's what their site,, has to say:

"The use of disposable paper towels has a huge impact on the environment by contributing to deforestation, water pollution and global warming. Some of the facts about paper towel consumption and the environmental impact are:
  • To make one ton of paper towels, 17 trees are cut down and 20,000 gallons of water are consumed. 
  • Every day, over 3,000 tons of paper towel waste is produced in the US alone. 
  • Decomposing paper towels produce methane gas, a leading cause of global warming. 
  • Paper was the largest contributor to municipal landfill waste in 2006. 
  • The average person uses 2,400 – 3,000 paper towels at work, in a given year."
I love love love this product. How many times do I go into public restrooms and just shake my head at the overflowing trash bins, the mess of wet paper towels everywhere... the way they smell, the thought of the trees and processing and bleaching that has gone into them, and how this is just one restroom on one floor of one building in one town in one state... on and on. (Psst.. it's lots of times.) It's staggering. (Welcome to my brain.)  If we were carrying around PeopleTowels instead, this would not be plaguing my brain. Help my brain. 

From their information: If 1 in 4 adults used PeopleTowels for a year instead of paper towels, and we're just talking in public restrooms here, we would save enough trees to cover the state of Alaska. We would save enough water to FILL 22,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. And then, think about the landfill space saved and the resources not being used to make the paper towels. 

Now you see why I love love love this product? I bought a few. They are SO cute, too! Mine rolls up nice and small in my purse. You can clip them on you messenger bag or your backpack. This is an amazingly easy new eco-habit to adopt. In fact it is easier than remembering bags or carrying a water bottle, because they are so light and easy. 

So, thank you Linda, thank you Mary, I was so happy to meet you and to learn about your product. Thank you Expo, for having these PeopleTowels there. I think they cannot catch on soon enough. Order them online or find them at stores listed on their site. Give them as gifts. They are so cute and fun, and if you have a business, you can get your logo on them too. Good Green Witch PeopleTowels? Oh you bet your bippy those are coming. 

Let's get these things to catch on. It's such an easy habit-change to make. We can do this.