What Am I Missing?

THERE’S A LOT OUT THERE grabbing headlines these days: the economic meltdown and possible recovery; the winding down of the Iraq war and the ramping up in Afghanistan; threats from Iran and North Korea. In sports, steroid scandals continue, with the Red Sox now on the chopping block (go Yankees! Our cheaters are better than their cheaters!). Racial issues are on the table again with the dustup between Henry Louis “Skip” Gates and the Cambridge Police Department. I could go on, but instead I want to address an issue that totally perplexes me, in my beverage centric world.

We live in a culture where health issues abound. Obesity is rampant. A large part of our populace eats poorly, doesn’t exercise, continues to smoke and generally has a total disregard for their well being. Children are fed junk from day one, and it’s given to them Super-Sized. I recently went into a fast food restaurant to check the now-mandated calorie counts on their menu boards. I almost had a heart attack just reading the offerings.

This brings me to my major bone of contention. Why are the “issues” around bottled water even issues at all? It boggles my mind that the only undisputedly healthy beverage offering is being attacked on so many fronts. Of all the consumer products out there, why are politicians and public officials making this particular beverage category public enemy #1? They’re banning the purchase of bottled water by municipalities, attacking PET bottles and their impact on the environment, proposing taxes and state initiatives for separate bar coding. I am here to call it all what it is: sheer nonsense. This legislative posturing must stop. Deal with real issues, not this.

We can debate the merits of many different products in food and beverage groups, but no one can claim that drinking water isn’t at the top of the list for a healthy lifestyle. The bottled water industry has made more strides than other categories to reduce its carbon footprint. Drinking water and its portability should be encouraged, not legislated against.

I lead a pretty active lifestyle. I run, play tennis, ski, and manage to walk about six miles a day. I also pack a bottle of water with me on almost all occasions. To imply that it is bad for these bottles to be out there doesn’t reflect reality. We live in a mobile society, and having the option of bringing water and other packaged goods with you is our right. I’d rather have people toting water, because it means they’re out and about pursuing an active lifestyle, that have them inside watching inane TV or playing mindless video games. Hopefully, people will make the correct choices in what they ingest, but to single out the one product that personifies good nutrition is insanity.

Stop all this stupidity.