Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession with Bottled Water

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Island Press, May 3, 2010 - Political Science - 232 pages
Peter Gleick knows water. A world-renowned scientist and freshwater expert, Gleick is a MacArthur Foundation "genius," and according to the BBC, an environmental visionary. And he drinks from the tap. Why don’t the rest of us?

Bottled and Sold shows how water went from being a free natural resource to one of the most successful commercial products of the last one hundred years—and why we are poorer for it. It’s a big story and water is big business. Every second of every day in the United States, a thousand people buy a plastic bottle of water, and every second of every day a thousand more throw one of those bottles away. That adds up to more than thirty billion bottles a year and tens of billions of dollars of sales.

Are there legitimate reasons to buy all those bottles? With a scientist’s eye and a natural storyteller’s wit, Gleick investigates whether industry claims about the relative safety, convenience, and taste of bottled versus tap hold water. And he exposes the true reasons we’ve turned to the bottle, from fearmongering by business interests and our own vanity to the breakdown of public systems and global inequities.

"Designer" H2O may be laughable, but the debate over commodifying water is deadly serious. It comes down to society’s choices about human rights, the role of government and free markets, the importance of being "green," and fundamental values. Gleick gets to the heart of the bottled water craze, exploring what it means for us to bottle and sell our most basic necessity.

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User Review  - lahochstetler - LibraryThing

This is a book about the implications of the mass consumption of bottled water. Touching on the most well-known problem created by bottled water, millions of plastic bottles left in landfills, as well ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - booksandwine - LibraryThing

Bottled water is seductive. We drink it thinking it's healthier and better for us than the water that comes out of our sinks. When we are done with the bottles, they typically go into landfills ... Read full review


The War on Tap Water
Fear of the Tap
Selling Unwholesome Provisions
If Its Called Arctic Spring Why is it from Florida?
The Cachet of Spring Water
The Taste of Water
The Hidden Cost of Convenience
Selling Bottled Water The Modern Medicine Show
Drinking Bottled Water Sin or Salvation?
Revolt The Growing Campaign Against Bottled Water
Green Water? The Effort to Produce Ethical Bottled Water
The Future of Water

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About the author (2010)

Peter H. Gleick is President of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security in Oakland, California, and is a recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship for his work on water issues.

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