(or) Quit f-cking selling plastic bottles if you’re in the health business
My friend Anna says that the only way we can help others transform is through love. She also says that the only way to meet unconsciousness is through consciousness. To “fight back” with similar unconsciousness only perpetuates the problem (Watch any political talk-show and you’ll understand what she means).
After writing an angry rant of a column about bottled water, I went to Bhakti Yoga Shala for an amazing kirtan event. I was thrilled to see that they offered free filtered water. The next day I went to Studio Surya Yoga for an inspiring flying yoga workshop, and the studio was selling eco-friendly water bottles and had just installed a water cooler.
It’s much more my style to highlight the positive and offer choices without pointing fingers. I found it interesting that the day I went negative, the universe went out of its way to show me that we see what we focus on—and that there are so many beautiful, conscious people in the world.
So that my outrage isn’t lost, and to remind myself of the columnist I don’t want to become, I’m going to leave the column as is. And not for nothing, if you’re drinking bottled water or practicing at a place that sells it, please be proactive, in a loving way, about offering solutions. Before I get to the rant, check out what Dr. Mercola says about water for both a scientific explanation as well as practical ideas on what to do.
It’s bad enough to see so many bottles of water at casinos and junk-food establishments, but last week I took a hot yoga class and noticed that just about all the students were drinking plastic bottles of Smart Water. It kills me to see places whose very offering is health, awareness and consciousness selling plastic bottles. It’s tough to blame someone for ignorance, but when you’re a leader, I expect more. Much more.
Water is a big revenue source. Before you accuse me of being an out-of-touch hippie, you should know that I founded a business long before I did my first downward dog. I’m not suggesting that yoga studios shouldn’t maximize revenue; just don’t tell me they have no choice but to sell plastic water.
The irony and hypocrisy of profiting from something so bad for the environment and our bodies at a place that promotes health and consciousness makes my blood boil. This means you, too, Whole Foods.
I just watched the documentary Tapped, and I can tell you that the picture is frightening. Americans consume 80 million bottles of water a day and pay a mark-up of 1,000 percent for tap water in a bottle that contains the highly toxic bisphenol A which pollutes our bodies just before the bottles pollute the ocean and the environment.
For starters, there are choices. As an individual, use a glass or stainless steel bottle and fill it up with your own filtered water. As a business, you have options that meet the needs of your customers and your bottom line. You can sell (or give away with promotions) stainless steel bottles with your studio’s logo. It’s both a revenue source and a branding tool. I’ve seen one studio with a water cooler where you can refill your water bottle for fifty cents. You stay hydrated, the studio makes money, and no plastic and waste are produced—sounds like a win-win to me.
When I finish a yoga class, I’m an easy sell. I want to be healthy and hydrated and I’m too exhausted and thirsty for money to be an issue. Why not sell glass bottles of coconut kefir (they go for $12 at Whole Foods so there’s got to be a huge profit in this) or Kombucha. Or how about raw chocolate? There’s also a great B12 supplement as well as an electrolyte water add-in that I buy from my friend Lucas Rockwood’s company Yoga Body Naturals. He’d be happy to sell you the products at wholesale and make you a distributor. As a last case resort, for those who don’t bring or buy a water bottle, you can sell water in petroleum-free, plant-based bottles.
If you call yourself a leader and/or go by the label politician, CEO, author, Whole Foods executive, health advocate, teacher, Mom, Dad, doctor or yoga studio owner, among others, it’s a sign of ignorance to be drinking—much less selling—water from a plastic bottle. Any joy I get from the Obamas planting an organic garden at the White House is erased when I see the President drink from a plastic bottle. He might as well smoke a cigarette (oops, bad example, though I can much more easily forgive the cigarettes).
Allow me to conclude making a request to both you and all yoga studio owners, by paraphrasing Quintin Tarantino in Pulp Fiction. Pretty please, with sugar on top, quit f-cking drinking and selling plastic bottles of water.
Rather than hide behind my pen, with both love and consciousness, I approached the owners of the yoga studio that sells plastic water bottles. They explained that they don’t sell glass because they can’t want broken glass in the studio. That makes sense, but I still think there’s demand for glass bottles to drink after class. They do sell branded stainless steel bottles and are in the process of procuring a filtered water machine. They said they sell Smart Water because many students want a cold bottle and simply won’t buy the stainless steel bottle and fill up. As a business owner, I understand that you have to listen to your customers. At the same time, I’d love to see them take a leadership position and simply stop selling plastic. Sometimes necessity is the forbearer to consciousness and I’m sure their students will adapt.
For a bit of comic relief, check out Lewis Black’s hilarious stand-up bit on bottled water.