Protect the Commons! The Cato Institute is far from the only organization spinning the snake-oil salesman line about how the commons are best preserved by being sold off and exploited. It is no coincidence that the advocates of privatization are also rampant opponents of conservation. Consumerism all the way, baby!

Who opposes the protection of the commons? I may be a lot more pro-business than your average enviro, but I can’t deny that the culprits are certain corporations, of course, along with those beholden to those corporations. Parties who stand to gain directly from the destruction of aquifers, for example, are usually either in or lackeys of the bottled water business or in the water-purification or transportation industries. You have to wonder how is it that bottled water has become a multi-billion dollar industry when the FDA has adopted the same EPA standards for tap water as standards for bottled water…

Q. What about bottled water? (from the EPA Ground Water and Drinking Water FAQs)
A: Bottled water is not necessarily safer than your tap water. EPA sets standards for tap water provided by public water systems; the Food and Drug Administration sets bottled water standards based on EPA’s tap water standards.

Bottled water and tap water are both safe to drink if they meet these standards, although people with severely compromised immune systems and children may have special needs.

Some bottled water is treated more than tap water, while some is treated less or not treated at all. Bottled water costs much more than tap water on a per gallon basis

It hardly seems likely that the global bottled water culture is all about the “quality, consistency and safety that bottled water promises” described by industry flacks. Yet somehow governments across the world are content to allow the commoditization of one of the essential ingredients of life to explode unabated. How long until we hear the same arguments in favor of bottled air?

Some folks want to make money by selling you something that used to be yours. Others try to scrape out a living as a tool of those selfsame interests. One tool that serves as an object example of how twisted this whole debate has become is that right-wing hate-monger, Ann Coulter. In an October 13, 2000 article disdainfully titled Oil good; Dems bad, she spelled it out the anti-conservation platform with crude, but crystal clarity:

The ethic of conservation is the explicit abnegation of man’s dominion over the Earth. The lower species are here for our use. God said so: Go forth, be fruitful, multiply, and rape the planet—it’s yours. That’s our job: drilling, mining and stripping. Sweaters are the anti-Biblical view. Big gas-guzzling cars with phones and CD players and wet bars—that’s the Biblical view.

Does Ann Coulter speak for you?

Written by Mike
Mike is a leading authority in the field of standardized test preparation, but he's also a traveler who fully expects to see every bird in the world. Besides founding 10,000 Birds in 2003, Mike has also created a number of other entertaining but now extirpated nature blog resources, particularly the Nature Blog Network and I and the Bird.