The Story of Stuff project team is known for their creativity and critical consumer and environmental activism in partnership with empowered marketer Free Range Studios. In 2010 they create an insightful and incisive movie titled, “The Story of Bottled Water.” Anne Leonard is an amiable media literacy tour guide, pointing out to viewers the foolish and nonsensical reasons why bottled water is so popular yet ultimately so wasteful. In just a little more than 8 minutes, Leonard delves fairly deep into the advertising techniques to create the need and perpetuate the demand for bottled water and the corporate advertising techniques to perpetuate the myth. Sadly, our notions of recycling aren’t exactly grounded in reality either. Most salient is that it answers the question: “Which is better for our bodies and environment: Tap water or bottled water?”
Loriana Romano from Canadian-based Teaching Rocks provides a media literacy worksheet to accompany “The Story of Bottled Water” that you can [download here]. It integrates Science, Geography (and Social Studies), and Media Literacy.
But there is a twist in the flow of information (and water) here.
What happens when a public health tragedy rises to the surface, as is the case with the water crisis in Flint, Michigan? It’s enough to lose faith in the safety of tap water, isn’t it? Corporate execs who bottle water are suddenly the rescuers of innocent victims. And the villains are now the corrupt politicians and city officials of Flint. There is no denying the the layers of socioeconomic and racial discrimination here. Fodder for discussion, indeed.
The following PBS News Hour video (Jan 2016) addresses the essential question, “What is the government’s responsibility when it comes to providing safe drinking water?”
You can download a curriculum guide to accompany this video by clicking here.