This blog will look at environmental and political issues that will affect the quality of life for future generations of all species. Including; sustainability, media labels of "environmental issues," and different kinds of resistance to environmental oppression. I will also post on anything I think someone interested in the aforementioned would be interested in...

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Bottled beverages on our campus...

Scientists, environmentalists, and conscientious consumers have begun raising concerns about the safety of a plastic used to manufacter water bottles and canned food lining. It is also found in most plastic bottled beverages around the univeristy of Regina.

Recent studies have confirmed what environmentalists and preventative health-care advocates have been have been worrying about for years. These studies found trace amounts of a toxic chemical known as Bisphenol A leaching out of many common plastics, including shatter-resistant (Nalgene) water bottles and even baby-bottles.

Bisphenol A (BPA) has been shown to have developmental toxicity, carcinogenic effects, and possible neurotoxicity from amounts as low as 2-5 ppm (parts per million). Research has also linked BPA to changes of the genital tract, prostate enlargement, declined testosterone, pre-cancerous breast cells, prostate cancer, early puberty in females, and hyperactivity.

Most commonly, toxins like BPA slowly leach from plastic pop and water bottle containers. The amount of contamination varies based on amount of use and length of time the bottles spent sitting in transport trucks or on shelves.

Looking at the bigger picture, this new revelation is merely another product of the corporate risk-management mindset that continues to dominate our political culture.

This isn't the first time a corporation (in this case many corporations) has used a cost-benefit model that valued short-term monetary profits over any long-term health/environmental costs. If our society continues to allow corporations to be un-accountable and non-transparent, many more problems are sure to arise.

It's time student's start demanding that their own representatives, like the student's union, begin acting in the interests of the student rather than reinforcing the corporate-interest model that dominates our campus.

So far this year, the University of Regina Student's Union (URSU) has given out green re-usable water bottles with their logo on it, as well as miniature Dasani non-reusable bottled water (some with the Lazy Owl logo).

Should we take the first step and ban bottled water/pop on our campus? Both URSU and university president Jim Tomkins have publicly declared support for the millennium development goals. Two of those goals include "maternal health" and "environmental sustainability." Maternal health encompasses preconception, prenatal, and postnatal care. Supporting bottled water/pop on our campus does not meet these promises. Maybe it's time student's held URSU and the university administration accountable to their promises?



We are a Coke campus.
Coca-Cola has a ten-year exclusive deal with our university. Coca-Cola corporation gave $1 million to the university in 1998 for this deal. At that time, the deal was supported by both the university president and student's union, who saw the immediate benefit of short-term profits. It didn't seem to matter that Coca-Cola has been linked to human rights violations, massive ecological destruction, and outright murder of union leaders and members in South American countries.

URSU should dig a little deeper before they decide to support the contract renewal coming up in May 2008. Is our student union a $3.5 million a year corporation? Or is it an organization that puts student's first and represents their interest regardless of how profitable that interest is. It's time for student's to decide.

8 comments:

gabriel said...

I tried to leave a comment earlier but my unreliable SaskTel internet screwed me yet again. Anyway I was going to say I liked the post, although I would like to see some more links to research that aren't wikipedia.

Also, props for calling out the UofR administration along with URSU on the subject. I will be sure to mention your concerns at the next URSU Board of Directors meeting, which you are welcome to attend.

Myles Fish said...

Your information about the university's deal with Coke is interesting. With their deal expiring next year, we have a chance to make a real, monumental change. I believe it'd be great if bottled beverages were no longer on campus. Not only are companies like Coca-Cola great polluters, they also use so much drinkable water in the world's poorer regions. They have a plant in India where they have access to enormous amounts of fresh water, while Indian people around them often face water shortages. These factors are serious, of course, but perhaps the most important one is also the most simple: these products are bad for your health! Bottled water may be the only healthy product, but for anyone who read the Maclean's article on the devestating effect bottled water has on the world's landfills and the world's people, it hardly seems like a good alternative. Hopefully, when the UofR's deal with Coke expires, the student population will have a say, and then we can right a lot of wrongs.

Saskboy said...

Blogger lost my comment I think. I said I liked this article. Hopefully a better company will be chosen next time.

Trees for our children... said...

... and by better company chosen next time... it better not be Nestle or Pepsi-cola... (Nestle is arguably MORE EVIL than Coca-Cola!)...

lets refuse ALL corporate-interest grants on our campus!

Saskboy said...

If that's what it takes, then yes.

Is there an alternative drink vending machine organization that can replace Coke? I don't think you'll win over students and the University unless a better or equal alternative to vending machines is offered.

Also, I think you'll find this report interesting.

Trees for our children... said...

actually, I presented to URSU about kicking coke off campus last night... they were pretty defensive, but overall it went well... More and more students are joining the fight against coke (including at the University of Saskatchewan and Beyond)...

and it's nice to see CBC picking up on my story ;)

Trees for our children... said...

oh and Gabe... I think wikipedia is a great source (its linked its own sources in its footnotes as well, which you can check out with a click)...

I love the entire open-source movement...

what you got agains girltalk?
[a pretty sweet open-source artist]

Saskboy said...

How goes the battle on this bottle front?

Any hope of banishing the drug pushers known as Red Bull women who hand out cans around campus?