Letter to the editor


DePauw not yet back to the tap

I was so excited to see that our highly paid elite speakers, Jimmy Wales and Nicholas Carr, enjoyed their plastic bottled water last Thursday. When the campus, with over 900 individual student and faculty petitions and an almost unanimous Student Government resolution ridding the campus of bottled water passed last semester – I had thought the campus had awakened, to even a limited degree, to the eminent global crisis of fresh-water availability. According to a 2008 United Nations report, in less than 15 years, two-thirds of the world's population will live in water-stressed regions as a result of overuse, growth, pollution and climate change. On campus, it's noted and appreciated that the Facilities and Administrative Departments graciously installed machines to dispense water more vertically and revoked the sale of bottled water from the dining facilities. But our university community's stance is simply a facade. No, we do not recognize the impending global situations outside of our cozy Depauw bubble. Wales and Carr gulped down their over-priced, corporately controlled, re-marketed bottled Nestlé water. Killer-Coke's Dasani brand still parasitizes campus in the form of vending machines directly in front of the Lilly exercise room. Further, when I entered the President's office recently, there sat a private stock of Nestlé bottled water in the corner, a company with an absolutely abusive track record against public commodities. According to the Polaris Institute, while the Nestlé company purchases tap water at 8.7 cents per 100,000 gallons from small communities across the country, the water is propagandized back to the upper class public at over $10 per gallon, an absurd six-digit percentage markup contributing to the $35 billion per year bottled water business. This one-year fiscal amount alone could provide the world population with clean water, something over 2 billion people lack worldwide. While The DePauw, in a recent editorial, and many others like to think we have burst the awareness bubble that drowns this elite institution, I'd argue it's as strong as ever. A Cree Indian proverb says it best: "Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize we can't eat money."

Tyler Hess, sophomore