Nestle has earned the unenviable reputation of one of the biggest corporate exploiters of the crippling drought that has been wreaking havoc across the west coast, but despite the public outcry have apparently decided that they aren’t going far enough. The company has renewed efforts to purchase public aquifers in Oregon’s Oxbow Springs, to heavy resistance from citizens and legislators alike.
City Councilor Deanna Busdieker of Cascade Locks, remarks that “Nestlé’s main concern is its profit margin, whereas residents want sustainable, socially responsible long-term economic development….Selling public resources for private profit is an idea that belongs in the past. The only way to move forward is to develop new industries. We can do better than Nestlé.”
The precedent of such a sale opens up a can of worms that the people of Oregon, who are also suffering through the worst drought in 300 years, does not wish to consider. The consequences of the deal could prove to be very expensive in the future; as water runs out and the aquifiers are drained, Nestle will be able to increase prices and make a huge profit selling the people of Oregon their own water back to them.
On top of that, the water bottling industry itself is extremely wasteful and an unnecessary cost to consumers. Bottled water can cost anywhere from 89 cents and $8.26 a gallon. The fossil fuels used to create plastic bottles are terrible for the environment; the bottles themselves then create more trash and are suspected of leaching chemicals into the water itself.
Americans need to take a stand against big corporations and their constant attempts to privatize public land, chasing profits without any consideration for the possible consequences to the people or to the environment. As the march of climate change creates new weather patterns and rapidly changing environments, we mustn’t allow the businesses that are responsible for the problem in the first place make millions off of it.
h/t to RingOfFireRadio
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.