On affluenza and environment:
Put simply, if we want to reduce the impact on the natural environment of all of the stuff we buy, then we have to hang on to our stuff for a lot longer. We have to maintain it, repair it when it breaks, and find a new home for it when we don’t need it any longer. If we want to cure affluenza, we have to get more satisfaction from the things we already own, more satisfaction from services, more satisfaction from leisure time, and less satisfaction from the process of buying new things.
On bottled water:
In 2015 American consumers spent over US$14bn buying over 40bn litres of bottled water. Bottled water consumption has been growing steadily for the past decade, except when it declined during 2008 and 2009 during the global financial crisis. Despite its decline in those years, no reports of deaths through dehydration due to a shortage of bottled water were reported.
Whether consumers around the world choose to double their spending on bottled water in the coming decade or decide to carry their own water will not be determined by the relative cost of bottled water and the cost of a thermos. It will be determined by culture.
This is a valid point, but it’s hard to dismiss how insanely and dangerously cheap bottled water is in US. 24 pack of 16.9 fl oz bottles cost $2.49 at CVS or any other pharmacy, which is $0.10 per bottle or $0.79 per gallon. For comparison, large 5 gallon bottles for a water dispenser that we use at home are from $6.49 to $9.49, which is $1.30–1.90 per gallon or almost 2–2.5 times more expensive. It doesn’t make financial sense to fill a thermos or a reusable water bottle before leaving the house instead of grabbing a bottle from the pack, and only culture may not be enough to change that. Until water bottles will be priced as an emergency measure and a last resort, they will be bought and discarded in insane amounts.