Drinking Has Gyre Consequences

You’ve probably heard how drinking can have dire consequences. The most notable of these consequences is of course what propelled MADD into existence, but the list of undesirable results from imbibing are not limited to drinking and driving a motor vehicle.

How about drinking and driving everyone else around you nuts?

Or spending an entire month researching and crafting a TED talk to prove to your party host that a toilet does in fact represent a macro level manifestation of the double slit experiment and thus the physical object as we see it can actually exist in multiple places at once, based on the intent of the observer, or in this particular case, the wishful non-thinking of the experimenter.

Hey! You may even get a Nobel prize for this phenomenal discovery that starts a new trend in sanitation practices which then spills over into less strain on aging urban waste water management infrastructure. All we need to do is wear rubber boots indoors and dry the carpets out in the sun from time to time.

Well done! We all pee in the same pool anyway, right?

Yes. Our oceans are our septic tank.

Anything we flush or even throw out eventually ends up swimming in or sinking to the bottom of our ginormous big blue swimming pool and we’re all having so much fun at the pool party that we forgot about the morning after.

You know, when you wake up, look over at the merman you fell in love with last night and realize he is looking a little plasticized (It’s OK. It happens to the best of us. Your secret is safe with me, Larsa ;-) ).

All relationship preferences aside, the consequences of our drinking games are more than merely dire…they are gyre consequences.

In developed nations, people essentially play games with their drinking water. Take Canada or the US for example, we have safer access to clean fresh water right out of our tap than most other countries, yet we insist on paying 1000 times the price for water in plastic bottles contaminated with Biphenol A (BPA) and/or a soup of other endocrine disruptors.

Then we waste the water a rural African would hit you over the head with an elephant bone for even suggesting such blue gold exists so that we can service the elusive Schrodinger’s Toilet.

This insanity is enough to get your head spinning like an ocean gyre. The difference, however, is while your head settles after you pass out, the oceans never sleep.

The oceans keep turning and churning all those convenient single-use toxic bombs into lovely plastic merry-go-rounds for the local fish schools and photodegrade into nice one bite plastic cookies for the sea birds to feed themselves and their young with.

Granted, it’s not just plastic water bottles but those bottle caps sure are yummy— almost like the candy ones I ate when I was a kid.

This short video by OneWorldOneOcean.org gives you a little taste of what Mikey the littlest albatross likes so much his brothers decide to dive in for as well.

YouTube Preview Image

So what do we do about this?

Since this post is about drinking let’s start with that and do some math. (Yeeehaaa! Math again!)

According to BottledWater.org’s 2011 bottled water statistics, 64% of all bottled water sales comes from single use plastic bottles referred to by the industry as PET, hereto forth referred to as PET peeves (of a Woman Not Waiting).

The total worldwide 2011 market was 61,370,000,000 gallons. Each PET peeve carries 500mL of toxic water.

500 mL =  (0.000264172 gallons per mL) * 500 mL = 0.13205 gallons

So each PET peeve carries 0.13205 gallons of hormone disruptor tonic.

And the final equation is:

( 61,370,000,000 gallons * 64% ) / (0.13205 gallons per PET peeve) = 297,430,000,000 PET peeves

That’s 297 BILLION single use water PET peeves in ONE year…only water…not pop (soda)…not juice…not iced teas…not whatever else is a major PET peeve.

“But wait,” you say. “That is WORLD WIDE. Developing countries sometimes don’t have access to clean water. Surely, us North Americans consume but a small chunk of this life source.”

GONGGGGGgggggg!

The US consumes 9,107,300,000 gallons!

The US is the NUMBER ONE producer of water PET peeves and since countries like Mexico import mostly bulk water, that means that the PET peeve concentration in the US will be higher than the world figure of 64%.  (Canada is not listed in the top 10 so the report has no figures, but don’t get too hoity-toity my fellow Canadians, we produce our fare share of PET peeves as well.)

The result? North America is really peeving the mistress of the 5 gyres with OVER 44 BILLION instances of peeving. That’s 44 BILLION tasty bottle caps, according to Mickey the albatross.

WOW!

“But wait again,” you declare. “WE recycle!”

Awe I hate to do this again but… (Actually that’s a lie. I enjoy it. Hand me that mallet will you?)

GONGGGGGgggggg!

According to PlasticNews.com (LOL! I just had a flash of Barbie and Ken doing CNN here), in 2011, 38.6% of plastic water bottles in the US were recycled, so that leaves 61.4% of them morphing into PET peeves: 27 billion. It’s still a big number.

In any case, recycling is just an environmental RRSP or 401K. It’s deferred pollution which actually compounds toxic interest each time it matures.

Now back to what a Steward can do about this.

I am not waiting to peeve the mistress of the 5 gyres any more than she already is, so here is my Woman Not Waiting daily act commitment:

  • I will not purchase any single use plastic containers for beverage of any kind in any size— no bottles, no plastic cups, no plastic bags…nada, zippo, nothing
  • I will not accept liquids served in any single use plastic containers— if my friends kick me out of their house, then so be it…I’ll find new friends
  • I will carry my stainless steel, plastic free water container with me and fill it with tap/fountain water— on public transportation I will fill up BEFORE taking my seat

What about you?

I would love if you could meet me at least half way on this…for now.

What are YOU not waiting for?

(Kaz) Karen

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About (Kaz) Karen Lefave

Kaz Lefave (Karen Lefave) is an engineer, inventor, entrepreneur, designer, and science fiction author who stirs things up and questions the status quo. You can find her on WomanNotWaiting.com, where she connects the dots, empowers, offers solutions, and inspires you to take active steps which together positively impact our planet.

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