Drink tap water, help the world?
August 24, 2005
A Basalt councilwoman thinks the town can do its part to help save the world by refusing to serve bottled water at meetings and other events it sponsors.Anne Freedman proposed the novel idea while the Basalt Town Council deliberated whether to join Aspen’s Canary Initiative – a new effort to reduce global warming.”You all may think I’m just a crazy old lady,” Freedman said before introducing her idea.Freedman, a retired college professor, said bottled water makes no sense to her because it is resource-intensive and, in her opinion, no better than Basalt’s tap water. She said bottled water comes in plastic bottles that may or may not be recycled, and they can produce a lot of waste with packaging.She said it is particularly absurd that a company that was based in Basalt until recently is importing water from Fiji. Just the shipping of that water adds significantly to global warming, Freedman said.The town usually provides bottled water at community meetings where a large turnout is expected.”I know it sounds petty, but I just find it frightening,” Freedman said.The council didn’t act on her suggestion. However, the board enthusiastically asked Dan Richardson, who is leading Aspen’s efforts to reduce it impact on global warming, to help Basalt come up with an action plan to reduce its production of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is the leading greenhouse gas, which contributes to global warming.That action plan could include easy steps like buying more wind power to big steps like added requirements in the building code for new construction.Councilman Glenn Rappaport said Basalt must avoid a hypocritical approach to global warming in which it touts steps it takes to reduce carbon dioxide but ignores other ways it contributes.He accused the Aspen Skiing Co. of a hypocritical approach. The company may be an environmental leader in its industry, Rappaport said, but it also is a leader in marketing to wealthy people from around the world who fly in on private jets, he said. Those private jets burn a lot of fuel to transport a small number of people.Rappaport said the Skico should do a better job of promoting use of commercial aircraft among its customers.Richardson said he would devote what time he could to helping Basalt come up with its own global-warming reduction action plan, but he didn’t set any deadline for a draft.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org