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Water Works

The environmental cost of Michelle Obama’s campaign to make Americans drink more water.

3:36 PM, Jul 31, 2014 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
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It’s been nearly a year since Michelle Obama began her bizarre, medically discredited campaign to get Americans to drink more water. The campaign, dubbed Drink Up, began last September with a pro-water speech in Watertown, Wisconsin (we were meant to find the location clever), and has since morphed into a full-bore advertising campaign, replete with YouTube movies and an active social media presence.

Hythlodot

Mo' Water, Mo' Problems.

Hythlodot

Apparently, it’s worked. As Paul Bedard reports at the Washington Examiner, sales of bottled water are increasing - a development for which the first lady has been keen to take credit.

“When the Drink Up campaign was launched last year, it had one simple goal – to get kids and families excited about drinking water,” she said in a statement. “And today, less than a year later, we know that water sales jumped nearly three percent among people who saw Drink Up ads.”

But environmentalists were less pleased at the news, given that bottled water ranks somewhere alongside rolling coal and burning leaves on the green no-no list. After all, as the advocacy group Ban The Bottle points out,

·       -Making bottles to meet America’s demand for bottled water uses more than 17 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel 1.3 million cars for a year. And that’s not even including the oil used for transportation.

·      - The energy we waste using bottled water would be enough to power 190,000 homes

·      - Last year, the average American used 167 disposable water bottles, but only recycled 38.

Environmental activists on the streets of Washington expressed dismay at the sales uptick. "Oh, bottled water is terrible. I think [Michelle Obama] should say, 'Please, please be more earth-friendly,"' Greenpeace officer Janice Poirier told THE WEEKLY STANDARD. "She should say, 'Please don't buy bottled water.' I think she should definitely mention that. We like to think of Obama as a friend of the environment, but there are toxins in [plastic bottles] and people need to be made aware of that."

Evan Brune contributed reporting to this blog post.

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