We first wrote about Annie Leonard over two years ago, when her short film, The Story of Stuff, first hit the web. Well, she’s back, this time looking at the ‘manufactured demand’ for bottled water. It’s a story we’ve heard before, but the directness of her approach and simplicity of her line-drawn motion graphics do a compelling job of demonstrating the hows and whys of this unnecessary and wasteful luxury:
What makes the story all the more interesting, however, is that while ‘Stuff’ doesn’t have an industry association lobbying on its behalf, bottled water does. And the IBWA isn’t going sit idle while some activist and her snappy animations tear into their $60+ billion dollar business. Their own series of videos—featuring a fresh-faced young interviewer lobbing softball questions—are one of the clearest cases of greenwashing I’ve ever seen.
Their rebuttal to Leonard’s piece, titled Good Stewards Of The Environment, lays out their case. It’s hard to know where to begin to respond: with their pride in protecting coastlines when the oceans are strewn with plastic, or in boasting of the 30% recycle rate for bottles that require 17 million barrels of oil a year to produce—to say nothing of the 70% that end up in landfills. But perhaps more revealing is the film below, with a devil standing in for concerned environmentalists and an angel advocating the ‘benefits’ of ‘clean, safe bottled water.’ Have a look, and decide for yourself who you think has the stronger argument.