Join 3,572 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Only the super-rich can save us!
December 11, 2009 12:19 PM   Subscribe

SLJaredDiamondOp-Ed: As part of my board work, I have been asked to assess the environments in oil fields, and have had frank discussions with oil company employees at all levels. I’ve also worked with executives of mining, retail, logging and financial services companies. I’ve discovered that while some businesses are indeed as destructive as many suspect, others are among the world’s strongest positive forces for environmental sustainability.

...What’s my evidence for this? Here are a few examples involving three corporations — Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola and Chevron — that many critics of business love to hate, in my opinion, unjustly.
posted by gerryblog (52 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
There was an audible gasp in the crowd when he said this very same thing at Townhall in Seattle during his book tour.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 12:25 PM on December 11, 2009


Someone drank the Kool-Aid Coca-Cola.
posted by rusty at 12:26 PM on December 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


rusty, it's okay, Coca-Cola has goals.
posted by gerryblog at 12:28 PM on December 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


YoBananaBoy: I'll admit that was basically my reaction. He seemed to have a decent handle on sustainability in Collapse, so it's very strange to see him now claiming that big promises and small efficiencies from Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, and Chevron make them "green" even as their fundamentally unsustainable business practices continue unabated.
posted by gerryblog at 12:32 PM on December 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


People don't hate Wallmart because they think it's bad for the environment, they hate it because it's adamantly opposed to unionization. Both in it's own stores and everywhere else as well. They also don't pay very well, and out-compete local businesses.
Coca-Cola’s problems are different from Wal-Mart’s in that they are largely long-term. The key ingredient in Coke products is water. The company produces its beverages in about 200 countries through local franchises, all of which require a reliable local supply of clean fresh water.

But water supplies are under severe pressure around the world, with most already allocated for human use. The little remaining unallocated fresh water is in remote areas unsuitable for beverage factories, like Arctic Russia and northwestern Australia.
Well, right it forces them to worry about it. But what it doesn't force them to do is ensure that everyone else has access to clean drinking water before they start taking water out of the drinking supply to put in beverages to sell to people.

Again, the knock on Coca Cola isn't that it's bad for the environment, but like walmart it's bad for the people in the area.

Not that I agree with that view, I really don't know much about this issue. I'm just summarizing what I think Coka Cola's critics might say.
The third company is Chevron. Not even in any national park have I seen such rigorous environmental protection as I encountered in five visits to new Chevron-managed oil fields in Papua New Guinea. (Chevron has since sold its stake in these properties to a New Guinea-based oil company.) When I asked how a publicly traded company could justify to its shareholders its expenditures on the environment, Chevron employees and executives gave me at least five reasons.
Yeah I can just picture it. Dimond walks around with some plant guy who points at some pipes and talks about how awesome they are. Seriously, how is Diamond in a position to judge the environmental protections at the drilling site?

And regardless of how clean the extraction is, all that oil is going to end up as CO2 in the air (or plastics). So no matter what, it's fucking the planet. The real test isn't the local area around the plants but rather the world as a whole, and whether or not Cheveron is using it's money to lobby against climate change regulations.
posted by delmoi at 12:32 PM on December 11, 2009 [8 favorites]


People don't hate Wallmart because they think it's bad for the environment, they hate it because it's adamantly opposed to unionization.

Don't make me choose!
posted by gerryblog at 12:33 PM on December 11, 2009 [7 favorites]


I'm just summarizing what I think Coka Cola's critics ...

er, I started typing 'coke' and then tried to change it to 'coca cola' without paying enough attention. Where is that 5 minute edit window!

posted by delmoi at 12:34 PM on December 11, 2009


If you plan on being around for the long term, you have to plan sustainably. In my line of work, more and more municipalities are planning their water and sewer systems to account for climate change, because it's not clear that the existing sources will be available in 50 years. So we're seeing more desalination plants, which just a few years ago were considered way too expensive, more industrial reuse of treated wastewater and more low waste processes.
posted by electroboy at 12:37 PM on December 11, 2009


It's a bit like saying that hardly anyone gets shot at the bullet factory. Of course oil companies strive for efficiency in operations to save money, and to keep things as clean as possible (to avoid fines, to save money). It's their product and its use that's the problem.
posted by scruss at 12:39 PM on December 11, 2009 [7 favorites]


On second read, this seems to be pitched at businesspeople who are inclined to scoff at any and all environmental concerns. It's like the "See Spot Run" version of ecology. I suspect the sense of revulsion it gives me is due to the implicit point that the most powerful people in the world right now by and large have the mentality of spoiled six year olds. We all live in Peaksville, OH now, folks.
posted by rusty at 12:42 PM on December 11, 2009 [5 favorites]


Also, the idea that cokes plants could be "water neutral" makes no sense when their product is water. Unless, they're counting bottles shipped out as 'returned to the environment.
posted by delmoi at 12:43 PM on December 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


When I asked how a publicly traded company could justify to its shareholders its expenditures on the environment

.... and then they load the oil onto the Chevron Valdez ...
posted by Rumple at 12:44 PM on December 11, 2009


Businesses adopting environmental concerns has always been about marketing, and this seems no different. 'Look, we're saving money by using less gas in our fleet, we're so GREEN.'

Yes, but you still have a fleet of trucks delivering plastic goods shipped all the way from China. Wal-Mart makes money off consumption, the more the better, and no spin will change that.
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 12:49 PM on December 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: hardly anyone gets shot at the bullet factory
posted by emjaybee at 12:51 PM on December 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


I find it semi-funny that this op ed seems to be behind a paywall/registration-wall
not eponysterical, but eponironic maybe. er. Thesis-ronic... something.
(not dissing the post, Mr. Diamond always has something interesting going on, and I like to know what that something is..)
lol though, as it reminds me of Mr. McCain's statements last year... "I know how to get Bin Laden"... but I can't tell till you elect me... better not choose the opponent.
now becomes corporations saying
"I (we) know how to save the world... all you need to do is buy my products... what's that, don't want them? oh, you wouldn't want me to LOSE this here little plan to stop climate change."


on preview... Delmoi, they use a LOT more water than we would expect in making bottled water...I don't remember citation, or exact numbers, but remember the amount of water they used to use for each bottle was excessive to say the least. maybe they have changed some manufacturing techniques? /me highly skeptical though.
hardly anyone may be shot at bullet factories... OTOH, coke plants... are drowning us In their excrement, er effluent.
posted by infinite intimation at 12:55 PM on December 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Jared says:

Once basic needs are met, increasing consumption often doesn’t increase happiness.

Yet all these companies, they have entire marketing departments based on creating the illusion that consumption does in fact create happiness.

Adding in the 'feel good about yourself because we're so GREEN' is just the cherry on top of an ecological shit sandwich.
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 12:56 PM on December 11, 2009 [1 favorite]



People don't hate Wallmart because they think it's bad for the environment, they hate it because it's adamantly opposed to unionization.


That's not at all why I or anyone I know hates walmart. The reason I hate walmart is because walmart forced a great many of its US suppliers to shut down factories, layoff workers (union and non-union), and set up shop in china. From that perspective, Walmart is good for our environment, because to the extent that manufacturing pollutes the local environment, that pollution is happening in China instead of here. All those unemployed workers at least get clean air and water!
posted by Pastabagel at 1:00 PM on December 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


It does sound like Diamond has decided to play toesies with the big multinationals, who no doubt approached him because he has cred with lots of book-reading liberal elitists who really liked Guns, Germs & Steel. Like myself for instance.

But now I wonder, has Diamond read any news about the growing oceanic trash vortexes and thought about how many of the products made by these sustainability-lovin' companies end up there?

Actual green-ness (rather than minimal or cosmetic green-ness) is going to be painful; and it's probably not going to happen until we get low enough on oil that we are forced into it. It has to take into account extraction + manufacture/transportation + usage + disposal, or it's not complete.
posted by emjaybee at 1:02 PM on December 11, 2009 [6 favorites]


wait, they're claiming water NEUTRAL... Water... riiiight coke... we trust you.
ok, yeah, let's upgrade that /meskeptical to a full on, level orange, false facts/ignoring reality call.
brb, just gonna get some potatoe neutral chips, and oil negative gasoline to drive my wheelless unicycle down to the communist-distribution depot, in order to purchase some fashion shoes for my hands.
posted by infinite intimation at 1:07 PM on December 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


One company goal is to make its plants water-neutral, returning to the environment water in quantities equal to the amount used in beverages and their production.

Coca-Cola: the world leader in Employee Urination Capture and Reuse!
posted by gurple at 1:13 PM on December 11, 2009


The wonderful thing about Walmart is that there seems to be something for everyone to hate.

Actual green-ness is going to be so painful that almost nobody but the loons really wants to do it. The plain truth is that it will only happen when it affects the bottom line. Does this really surprise anyone? Asceticism simply isn't much of a business model.

Kudos to Diamond for tempering his thinking with some reality. I do find it interesting that someone like him could be such a highly regarded critic of big consumer driven companies and practices, and yet have never really taken into consideration how such companies and practices actually fare until now.
posted by 2N2222 at 1:16 PM on December 11, 2009


Replacing a car that gets 15 miles per gallon with a more efficient model wouldn’t lower one’s standard of living...

A lot of Americans would disagree with that, I think.

As for the rest of us, we should get over the misimpression that American business cares only about immediate profits...

Well, those and long-term profits, occasionally.

...and we should reward companies that work to keep the planet healthy.

Absolutely.
posted by gottabefunky at 1:17 PM on December 11, 2009


Not a thing is going to change until we drive this planet to the very brink of apocalyptic collapse, and even then we might not change our habits. My advice: pollute the living shit out of everything, so that we get to the point where we have to change, faster.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:50 PM on December 11, 2009


Yeah I can just picture it. Dimond walks around with some plant guy who points at some pipes and talks about how awesome they are. Seriously, how is Diamond in a position to judge the environmental protections at the drilling site?

Actually, Diamond's involvment with Chevron began a long time ago. In Collapse, he talks about work he did back when he was primarily doing ornithological research. He spent a lot of time at Chevron's properties in PNG then and since. He describes his surprise at the low footprint of the oilfield operations and actual net-positive impact on biodiversity (since the company was able to effectively cut down on poaching and deforestation within its tenure, IIRC). I'm not so sure about the Walmart or CocaCola examples, but his claims related to Chevron ring true.

The last paragraph of the op-ed is also right-on. Many corporations will exceed environmental, health and safety regulations, but the ideal remains a strong, clear and consistent regulatory environment.
posted by bumpkin at 1:52 PM on December 11, 2009


Coca-Cola: the world leader in Employee Urination Capture and Reuse!

Don't be stupid. Once they get a new protocol droid that knows binary protocol they'll get those moisture condensers all tuned up. Then you can go and shoot womp rats in Beggar's Canyon.
posted by GuyZero at 1:57 PM on December 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


This would be the guy sued by New Guinea natives for making up stories about them?

When scientists become rock stars, science becomes performance.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:00 PM on December 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


I have a family member that is an executive with a major oil company. He related an anecdote about drilling off the coast of California. The environmental regulations require them to stay clean, to keep oil out of the water, which makes sense.

Except that some oil just seeps into the water naturally, from underwater sources. This happens all over southern California, all the time. It's why you find clods of tar on some southern California beaches.

The environmental regulations require the company, then, to maintain cleanliness levels that are more restrictive than what already exists in nature.

You never really hear about this, because the oil company ends up in compliance with the regulations. Oh sure, there's back-and-forth and huge bit of lobbying, and it's not all squeaky clean. But the oil gets drilled and the beaches aren't fouled doing it.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:05 PM on December 11, 2009


Jared has always believed environmentalists have to meet corporations and work with them. If I remember he devotes a section of Collapse to it. I commend him for being an advocate of best practices.
posted by stbalbach at 2:08 PM on December 11, 2009


I have a family member that is an executive with a major oil company. He related an anecdote about drilling off the coast of California. The environmental regulations require them to stay clean, to keep oil out of the water, which makes sense.

Except that some oil just seeps into the water naturally, from underwater sources....

The environmental regulations require the company, then, to maintain cleanliness levels that are more restrictive than what already exists in nature.
How does that even make sense? If we have X amount of oil seep from the ground, and each new drilling platform were allowed to leak X amount of oil, then we would have X*(N+1) oil in the ocean, where N is the number of drilling platforms. And there are thousands of drilling platforms in, say, the gulf of mexico.

On the other hand, if we limit the entire fleet to X, we would still have X*2 as much oil as natural. Which would still be bad.

So I don't think your family member was thinking things through.
posted by delmoi at 2:20 PM on December 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I read this and thought that maybe Diamond had finally realized what this whole Capitalism thing is all about.

The reason I hate walmart is because walmart forced a great many of its US suppliers to shut down factories, layoff workers (union and non-union), and set up shop in china.

No they didn't. The companies did that because they wanted to be on Wal-Mart's store shelves. They could have done several other things:

1) Accepted less profit for their shareholders.
2) Modernized distribution and production, as a LOT of companies that do business with Wal-mart did.
3) Chosen not to sell their stuff through Wal-Mart

You can blame wal-mart all you want, but it's just capitalism at work. They're just REALLY good at it.
posted by DigDoug at 2:48 PM on December 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


They could have done several other things:

1) Accepted less profit for their shareholders.


I don't think they can do that.
posted by adamdschneider at 3:05 PM on December 11, 2009


This is just ridiculous. All of his examples aren't 'look at this company saving the environment', they're 'look at this company saving money'. If these companies had a way to cut costs further, even if it hurt the environment, they would do it in a second provided it wouldn't generate much negative press.

I agree with the idea that big companies can be powerful forces for good- if an oil company pushes funding into alternate energies, then that's a good move. Saving money on their trucking fleet with less emissions as a side effect is hardly a reason to praise them though.
posted by twirlypen at 3:31 PM on December 11, 2009


So I don't think your family member was thinking things through.

Alas, you're overthinking it. and not understanding how convoluted regulation can get.

Imagine you put a carbon-spewing power plant next to a volcano that also spewed carbon into the atmosphere, and then I told you that the carbon levels in the air around your plant had to match the carbon levels found in a pristine forest located 3,000 miles away.

That's essentially what was happening here. In order to be permitted to operate in the area, the regulations stated that samples couldn't show more than X amount of oil in the water within Y distance of the site. The company countered with the fact that, before drilling even started, the samples at Y already showed more than X, just on the basis of natural seepage. They would be in breach of the regulations on Day 1, without having done anything.

Doesn't matter, was the generalized response -- a request for a variance was denied. So while the compliance sampling would be site-specific, the regs themselves would be based on averages from samples from many different areas in many different time frames. The oil company was required to spend dollars for remediation activities to render the site as clean as the average everywhere, not as clean as the average at the site in question is naturally.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:41 PM on December 11, 2009


so this Oil Exploration Corporation couldn't find anywhere else that had oil?
what is the location, as that would alter and give an idea of the type of flora and fauna in the area? Species protection studies? What studies did the company commission regarding practices that would protect these ecosystems? Did they pay anything to document species that may exist only i one location? Did they commit any funding to the furtherance of environmental science for that specific place?
The argument that X amount of Y is ALREADY there, does not preclude the companies operations from INCREASING the amount of BAD in that particular environment...

or; saying, 'but there was already apple juice in the fridge, when I got home' does not mean that I am not responsible for the SPILLED APPLE JUICE in the fridge, that I spilled AFTER I got home, that is getting sticky, or that I am not responsible for the ants that colonize the entire house because of the INCREASE in spilled apple juice.
posted by infinite intimation at 4:14 PM on December 11, 2009


Wow, you're being an awfully pedantic jackass and completely missing the point.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:21 PM on December 11, 2009


I don't think that's fair, I think I, and others get what you mean, it's just that when it comes to 'letting some individuals get richer', or losing a part of the world that is NOT able to be replaced, ever, I think I gotta hang with the "overthinking it" crowd.
importantly, it may be that this officiousness and regulation, in this one case you have suggested may exist, caused some inefficiencies in the economic system, but on a whole, the idea of systematizing protection for the very space, and system of that sustains human life... this is an acceptable situation. (to me at least. and does not say, no you may not make money, but rather that you bear as much responsibility as the next person. I can't go to the bathroom on my neighbors lawn.. certainly police, fines, fees etc would be involved.. why can this company do same to an ocean?)
posted by infinite intimation at 4:30 PM on December 11, 2009


You can blame wal-mart all you want, but it's just capitalism at work. They're just REALLY good at it.

That seems to be the ultimate excuse for everything. So long as it is of benefit to capitalism, all behaviours can be excused. Wal-Mart demanding prices so low that a supplier has to move operations off-shore, putting child-slaves to work instead of adult Americans? It's just capitalism at work!
posted by five fresh fish at 4:34 PM on December 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think what's missing here from Jared's assessment of Wal-Mart is intent. Even the way he portrays it, the first three things listed: reduced carbon emissions, fuel use, and electricity use were all done in the name of saving cost and increasing profit margin not for environmental purposes. How exactly does this make them environmentally minded?
posted by tybeet at 4:40 PM on December 11, 2009


Do Walmart's intentions really matter? What about actual results?

It seems crazy to make Walmart out as the bad guy, even if they do reduce resource consumption, because it doesn't also cause them to lose money. Not only must Walmart reduce emissions and energy usage, it must also inflict pain upon itself to earn praise?
posted by 2N2222 at 5:08 PM on December 11, 2009


I think what's missing here from Jared's assessment of Wal-Mart is intent. Even the way he portrays it, the first three things listed: reduced carbon emissions, fuel use, and electricity use were all done in the name of saving cost and increasing profit margin not for environmental purposes. How exactly does this make them environmentally minded?

Because that's just it—he's saying (to the business-executive drones, per rusty's reading above) that intent doesn't necessarily matter as much as certain factions would have you believe. That you can still make nice with people in various markets and within your business structure who believe some of the fallacies outlined in the piece while also helping the environment. That doing your part as a capitalist to increase efficiency can in fact have positive effects environmentally.

Of course, as the rest of this thread makes clear, some of the companies doing great things in one area (e.g., not spilling oil around drilling operations) are still contributing to problems in other areas (e.g., fomenting climate change via the continued combustion of petrocarbons). Intent would probably help there...

Also, incidentally, in re the guy who wouldn't sell to Wal-Mart, how interesting that his product, the Snapper line of high-end lawn mowers, is in existence—and thriving!—solely because of the unsustainable practice of cultivating inedible swaths of grass through the use of scarce water resources, water-polluting fertilizers and pesticides, and petroleum-based fuels. How about that?
posted by limeonaire at 5:23 PM on December 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


infinite intimation - no, you really don't get it. Apparently you missed the original explanation. The point is not that the oil company objects to being responsible and cleaning up after themselves, but that they are being asked, as a condition of drilling, to 'clean up' oil that is naturally present.

It like handing a logging company a bill for a forest fire that occurred before they even got the logging permit. This is not good environmental stewardship, it's just bureaucratic failure and it weakens the arguments for good environmental stewardship by applying them inappropriately.
posted by anigbrowl at 8:40 PM on December 11, 2009


Do Walmart's intentions really matter? What about actual results?

Precisely. This story is only surprising to bien-pensant imbeciles who believe that everyone working for a company with a market cap exceeding $500M is a moustache stroking cartoon villain and that executive suites are places where demon-possessed serial killers laugh at the poor.

Framing these issues (worker's rights, environmental protections) as ridiculous morality tales is deeply unhelpful. Most of the people involved are decent people behaving in ways that they consider moral. It is the system that is broken, which allows an organisation led and staffed by friendly, moral people to nonetheless do an enormous amount of harm.

I've seen oil installations in jungles, and his descriptions sound about right. But that oil is still going to be burned, and made into plastic bags which end up in the Great Garbage Patch. Who is responsible for that, really? The oil companies didn't make the plastic, the bag manufacturer didn't dump the bags, the consumer did... but the consumer often has no or little choice when it comes to packaging and ends up with tonnes of unwanted plastic anyway. So it hardly seems fair to hold the consumer responsible just because they are the final link in the chain, not any more than we should hold the oil company responsible because they are the first link.

All of these things are collective action problems, and luckily humans discovered the technology of government to solve those problems.

We don't have emissions regulations because the CEO of your local power company delights in acid rain and would delight in releasing more sulfur compounds into the atmosphere. We have them because without those regulations, the behaviour of our species as a whole is to our detriment.
posted by atrazine at 9:45 PM on December 11, 2009 [5 favorites]


The point is not that the oil company objects to being responsible and cleaning up after themselves, but that they are being asked, as a condition of drilling, to 'clean up' oil that is naturally present.

When I was backpacking, it wasn't uncommon for me to take out other's trash with me.

Gosh-darn, but I feel bad that the ultra-profitable oil companies might have to give back a little more than is strictly fair. It's not like, say, Exxon gladly paid up in full for the Valdez settlement. The least they can do is do a little extra clean-up around their wells.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:05 PM on December 11, 2009


When I was backpacking, it wasn't uncommon for me to take out other's trash with me.

Yes, and I suppose you also took hedge clippers along to clean up nature's doings as well.

I guess I understand the sentiment, but it seems to me that its true motivation is revenge. Environmental justice will not be achieved by kneejerk reactions and moral indignation, but by people who are willing to fight a long, difficult, and nuanced fight for what is truly right. anigbrowl said it better though.

This is not good environmental stewardship, it's just bureaucratic failure and it weakens the arguments for good environmental stewardship by applying them inappropriately.

posted by Bobicus at 10:34 PM on December 11, 2009


Hmm, unless I miss my guess, I lived next to one of your family member's oil rigs for about seven years (Santa Barbara, where there are oil rigs and natural oil seeps). I'll tell you that there is a little more to it than you might think. For starters, there are quite a few oil rigs there ---you look out into the ocean and you see oil rigs. A lot of people don't want them there, and probably are going to fight new ones anyway they can. Some people think that the drilling may increase the seep rate by shifting pressure in the oil deposits (I have no idea).

Also, the environment is pretty much all Santa Barbara has going for it. There is pressure to open it up for all kinds of development, and resistance must be constant, because you can't get some things back. e.g., one of the last migration stopping points for monarch butterflies lies on a small patch of land in Goleta. So certainly the local instinct is going to be to reflexively say "no" if they at all can, since most residents won't see any benefit from the drilling, and they typically resist development even when it comes to useful projects. Finally, you should keep in mind that "no exceptions" is politically easier to maintain than "only reasonable exceptions". Once you open the door a crack, you probably can't shut it again.
posted by Humanzee at 7:47 AM on December 12, 2009


Counterpunch calls Diamond a "Corporate Shill."

Tikkun takes a different approach.
posted by anotherpanacea at 9:17 AM on December 12, 2009


When I was backpacking, it wasn't uncommon for me to take out other's trash with me.
Yes, and I suppose you also took hedge clippers along to clean up nature's doings as well.


WTF?
posted by five fresh fish at 9:26 AM on December 12, 2009


That's essentially what was happening here. In order to be permitted to operate in the area, the regulations stated that samples couldn't show more than X amount of oil in the water within Y distance of the site. The company countered with the fact that, before drilling even started, the samples at Y already showed more than X, just on the basis of natural seepage. They would be in breach of the regulations on Day 1, without having done anything.

Oh, I'm playing the world's tiniest violin, just for them.
posted by delmoi at 10:17 AM on December 12, 2009


I'm confused. I read Collapse and woke up the next morning to find myself sobbing. I read Guns, Germs and Steel as a citizen of a former british colony and understood so much more about the way the world was. But this article makes me wonder....

Its a fine line to tread between credibility and mouthpiece, but when operating in a communications environment that results in books like "trust us, we're the experts", opinion pieces as carefully crafted as this one makes one wonder whom to trust.

and that's sad.
posted by infini at 2:19 PM on December 12, 2009


Also, the idea that cokes plants could be "water neutral" makes no sense when their product is water.

They're talking about potable water from existing sources. Most water is already allocated to various users (i.e municipalities, farmers, etc), so to be water neutral, it'd like be some combination of:

1. Identifying a previously unexploited source (which is unlikely)
2. Desalinating seawater, which doesn't have drawing rights like river and groundwater sources.
3. Reducing overall water use.
4. Using treated wastewater for non-food production processes (cooling mostly)
posted by electroboy at 9:06 PM on December 12, 2009


I'd guess Coca Cola were talking more about water being used in the process (washing bottles, et c.) than about the product itself.
The Coca-Cola company proudly boasts that it has a water use ratio of 2.7 to 1. That is, for every 2.7 liters of water (freshwater) it takes from the earth, it produces 1 liter of product. What happens to the remaining 1.7 liters (or 63%) of the water? It is used to clean bottles and machinery, and is discarded as wastewater.
CommonDreams.org
posted by froghopper at 2:39 AM on December 13, 2009


I'm amused that NOW Jared Diamond is considered full of shit, only because his arguments don't line up with people's personal biases. Frankly, his science has always been dodgy, and his writing has been full of selective data usage, jumping to conclusions, and in the case of Easter Island in Collapse, getting everything wrong.

He's actually been full of crap from the start, but as long as he was saying what people wanted to hear, he was fine. My suggestion then is that if you've been a fan of Diamond before, you suck it up, smile and agree.
posted by happyroach at 9:21 AM on December 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


« Older A major survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Publ...   |   What Was Popular Mechanics Thi... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments