Wednesday, August 30, 2006

One Ounce at a Time

If you've been in an airport lately, you've seen the mess of half-filled water bottles lining the trash bins by the security searches. What a waste.

I'm a small person who doesn’t consume a lot of liquid, so I often carry the same bottle from the morning I leave home, get on the plane, disembark, and finish up the water in the hotel at night. On our last trip, I was forced to toss an almost full bottle going through security, dump another one (purchased at the gift shop) just before boarding the plane, and purchase a third bottle upon arrival. There's got to be a better way, but I don't know what to suggest, besides getting dehydrated.

The airport situation made me think of Orson Scott Card, who wrote about water bottles earlier this month:

It is estimated that about [200 million] of these bottles are thrown away with the top screwed tightly down and an average of one ounce of water remaining inside.

Given that these plastic bottles are airtight, nonbiodegradable containers, this means that the water contained inside is withdrawn from the planet's hydrosystem for the next ten million years.

He goes on to point out that "The result is that humans of that future era will spend their lives swimming through an ocean of plastic water bottles, continually opening bottles to scavenge water, one ounce at a time."

While that would be an interesting premise for a novel, let's instead remember to empty water bottles before recycling them!

Note: If you don't know Orson Scott Card, he's a prolific science fiction author who has created some great series. As a new mom, I found Shadow Puppets (one of a series) particularly thought provoking and filled with action.

Card also writes a weekly column for his local paper, where he shares his passionate and sometimes odd opinions (hater of Meryl Streep and Steven Spielberg, defender of sensible sidewalks and Mexican restaurants, promoter of musical theater, and scarily, admirer of George W. Bush). I enjoy reading his column because he's clearly thought things through, even when I don't agree with him. Sometimes reading only those with whom you share opinions leads to a vacuum of fresh thought.


lara said...

"a vacuum of fresh thought" - i like that. i've commented multiple times that one of the reasons i'm enjoying my classes so much is because i'm so curious to hear what everyone else has to say. i know that when i get to class, people will bring things up that never even occurred to me, and even if i disagree with them, they're getting me to think. it's very refreshing. :)

mothergoosemouse said...

I bet OSC is drafting a novel outline right now in which water bottles figure prominently.

I don't read sci-fi, but I've read him - and he's great.

Girl con Queso said...

I agree! Although, I'm glad to read your entry even though I agree with you about reading things about which you don't agree.

Kristen said...

The thought of people scavenging for an ounce of old water is both horrifying and just kind of gross.

About the airports - it's so annoying also because if you happened to buy the water THERE, you paid about $5 for it. ARGH!

Lady M said...

Occasionally, I'll read political pundits in the name of understanding other views, but I can only keep it up for so long before my blood pressure rises though!