Debating Fiji Water

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To discuss Mother Jones’ recent expose of Fiji Water, we gathered the story’s muckraking writer, a bottled water industry rep, and an eco-blogger, then turned them loose to debate with readers.

What transpired was a lively discussion about military juntas, the eco-impact of bottled water, censorship, and the bottled water company in the middle of the storm.

Here are a couple exchanges that stood out:

–An anonymous Fiji resident challenged the notion that Fiji Water should speak out against the government:

“(Fiji Water) faces a dilemma, it can criticise the government and be morally right but at the same time putting whole communities under the poverty line. Or it can protect those communities and keep quiet. Which is the right answer? Which is morally correct?”

Anna Lenzer, the writer of the story, responded that if Fiji Water wanted to protect and serve the Fiji community, it should be doing a lot more:

“The company’s claim to, as Rob Six wrote in his reply to Mother Jones, ‘bring clean water to 100 communities in Fiji this year,’ cost the company just $150,000 last year…The company gave $100,000 in 2007 to the trust fund that covers the villages around its bottling plant. Meanwhile, the Resnicks made a $55 million donation to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art last fall. So it’s hard to swallow the company’s claim that they’re giving Fiji all they’ve got, especially in a time of crisis in Fiji.”

–A reader named “Christian” had some concerns about bottled water in general:

“Bottled water never was, is not, and never will be a ‘green’, ecologic product. You can produce it the way you want, it will never be ‘green’. Bottled water is an industrial absurdity, nobody needs bottled water. Pretending that a brand of bottled water is a ‘green business’ is showing deep ignorance.”

Bottled Water Industry rep Tom Lauria countered that in some cases, bottled water is neccessary:

“Anyone who has travelled anywhere outside the United States and/or Canada knows that bottled water is an essential element in hydration. U.S. Travelers in Asia, Africa, India and even Europe depend on bottled water exclusively. There is no drinkable ‘tap water’ in many places.”

Thanks to all who participated in the discussion. To read the whole thing, or to give your two cents before the forum ends today, click here.

 

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THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

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