Gavin Newsom should put a cork in it. In recent months, the mayor of San Francisco has eagerly pushed the City Council into the role of Big Brother, forcing restaurants to change ingredients, switch takeout containers, plaster menus with calorie counts, and add paid sick leave and health care to their already staggering costs. And now he’s gearing up to save Golden Gate residents from the next big “threat,” bottled water. During a press conference yesterday, Newsom urged restaurants to stop offering customers the choice between bottled and local tap water.
Proponents of the campaign, like Wenonah Hauter of Food and Water Watch, explained to The San Francisco Chronicle the less than earth-shattering arguments for bottle abstinence: “When a patron goes into a restaurant, they don’t have to feel cheap if they don’t order bottled water. They can feel virtuous.” It doesn’t get any more self-congratulatory than that.
San Francisco has already banned the city from purchasing bottled water. Chicago started taxing it earlier this year. And on Wednesday, Seattle’s mayor signed an executive order to stop his city from buying any. But bureaucrats aren’t the only people keen on making a splash in the water debate. Last night on "The Colbert Report," host Stephen Colbert poked fun at this hyper-alarmist campaign, satirizing the country’s so-called dependence on the bottled beverage: “My name is America. And I am addicted to water.”
Colbert effectively highlights the absurdity of this latest food cop quest. But it might be a columnist from Madison, Wisconsin who really said it best:
By shifting the focus to the energy used to create the bottles, the nannies have opened vast new worlds of possibilities for environmental posturing. After all, just about everything takes “energy and resources” to make, so why stop with grocery store bags and water bottles?
Of course, none of this will make an iota of difference to the planetary ecosystem. But anytime the frisson of smugness starts to wear thin, Madison can now roll out jihads against everything from yogurt containers to Styrofoam and egg cartons. How about bans on straws, margarine tubs, shampoo bottles and shower curtains?
Still low on self-esteem? Why not a ban on milk cartons? Detergent bottles? Cans? The plastic packaging around meat? (And, while we’re at it, why not ban meat?)
How about taking a stand against the environmental holocaust of microwavable packaging? The scourge of plastic forks and spoons? Vending machine cups? Vending machines themselves?
Still not convinced you’ve saved the earth? How about a ban on CDs and CD cases, plastic computer monitors, printers, keyboards? Plastic bumpers? Contact lenses? Silicon breast implants?