I wrote this article for the Huffington Post. It can be seen in its original context here.
We already know the numerous reasons why bottled water is bad, including the energy and water it takes to manufacture, ship and discard the product, as well as the fact that tap water must meet more stringent water quality standards. But here’s the interesting thing: fossil fuels are essentially bottled energy. And just as the green alternative to bottled water is tap water, the logical alternative to fossil fuels is renewable energy. Why? Well, here are just a few reasons (hint: both depend on current flows and are locally available):
1) Like bottled water, fossil fuels are mined from countries around the world, processed, shipped and then, finally, consumed. This process is wasteful and contributes to environmental degradation, to be sure, but perhaps the greatest downside of a global energy supply chain is that it makes for unstable geopolitics. This may sound like an argument against globalization, but it is nothing of the kind; rather, it is an argument against the globalization of energy. Think about it this way: Thomas Friedman has argued that no two countries that have a McDonalds–that is, two countries that have opened themselves up to global markets–will go to war with one another, because they stand to lose more than they gain. That theory more or less holds up as long as we are talking about consumer products, fast food chains, and the like, but it falls apart when we start talking about natural resources. Simply put, energy and water are not Barbie dolls and McDonalds; nations cannot do without them, and therefore the countries rich in fossil fuels hold too much sway on the global stage.