Healthy Drinking Water on “Tapped”

Our work at the Gulf Restoration Network is made possible in part because of the support we receive from Aveda and their network of salons, spas, Institutes and stores. Salons like Paris Parker in New Orleans help to raise money for us while helping to spread the word to their clientele about the issues we work on–issues like healthy water, healthy wetlands, and healthy oceans. A big part of what we do here at the GRN is uniting and empowering people to protect and restore our natural resources. Increasing public awareness about the issues we work on is something that we strive to achieve and we have found that film and documentaries can be very effective communication tools. The GRN recently had the privilege of attending (with our sponsors at Aveda) the New Orleans premier of the documentary “Tapped”, a powerful, thought provoking expose on the myriad of problems associated with the mega business of selling bottled water to consumers for hugely inflated prices, often at the peril of local drinking water supplies, human health and the health of our oceans.Starting on World Water Day and ending on Earth Day, April 22, producer Sarah Olson and director Stephanie Soechtig have been driving across the country urging Americans to Get Off the Bottle! Their tour will have landed them in some thirty cities upon completion where they are collecting pledges for people to reduce their bottled water use and trade their empty bottles of water for a Klean Kanteen!Organized by Aveda Corp. and Paris Parker staff, the New Orleans premier was held at the Republic in the Warehouse District on an absolutely beautiful Saturday evening. Parked out front of the venue was a huge orange truck with a see through container filled with thousands of plastic water bottles that had been collected at stops along the tour. The setting certainly had the feel of a premier event, complete with velvet ropes, flashing cameras, and fashionably dressed attendees. The event itself was fantastic and the film did a great job at explaining the crisis and putting a human and ecological face on the impacts this industry is having on mankind and our environment. The soundtrack was pretty cool too!In the words of Director Soechtig “the idea to make Tapped all began with the discovery of a plastic stew, twice the size of Texas located between San Francisco and Hawaii.” This stew of plastic particles can be found in high concentrations throughout our oceans (and the Gulf of Mexico). These particles are infiltrating marine life in ways that have never been seen before and threaten our fisheries and marine ecosystems.”Tapped” also addresses the issue of water scarcity. As Soechtig explains, “when one hears the phrase World Water Crisis we tend to think of a problem in a third world country, not the United States of America. Part of the reason we made Tapped is because we know that the world water crisis has hit America and something needs to be done.” This is true for areas in the Gulf Region, especially Florida. Add salt water intrusion to this equation and you can see that fresh water is under attack from all sides.As if those above mentioned problems are not enough, there is also the conflict the film calls “Water Bottle Wars”. Soechtig explains that, “there’s another side to the bottled water business that surprised me – where do all those bottles come from? Americans consume 29 billion single serve bottles of water a year. Those bottles are made in communities where people live and breathe in all the fumes that come from producing plastic.” The film takes an environmental justice look into the dirty side of the industry where those of us whom live near petro chemical facilities bear the cost, the environmental and health cost, associated with a nationwide demand for plastic water bottles. The film points out the irony that, not only are Americans bearing the health burden of those costs, but we are then purchasing these products at hyper elevated prices, which ensure the existence of a market demand and a continuation of the cycle.”Tapped” raises other issues associated with the bottled water industry including problems with water infrastructure like a lack of recycling capacity to meet the volume of bottles being produced, and the problem of industrial agricultural pollution of drinking water supplies. The film is very thorough when analyzing what all the issues are within this industry and does a great job of identifying which companies are the biggest problems, which government agencies are asleep at the wheel like the FDA, and which communities are the most impacted.Tapped is a hard hitting and sobering reminder of how precious this natural resource truly is. Often times in areas of the Gulf South like Louisiana, water is taken for granted because it is so abundant. This film points out the need protect, conserve and preserve. If left unchecked, large companies motivated by huge profits will do anything to hold on to the status quo, even at the expense of our own communities and ecosystems. We see this in the energy sector where large companies will stop at nothing to extrapolate oil and gas from underground and under water, while causing often irreversible damage to surrounding ecosystems and making record profits; with companies logging cypress forests in our wetlands and turning the trees into mulch that big box retail companies can sell in their stores; and now, water. Where will it stop? Where will it end? When will the well run dry?To see the trailer of Tapped and to buy a DVD online, go to

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