Water Is Not Just Water

A conversation with Elena Berg and Michael Mascha

Elena Berg, a professor of Environmental Science at BT天堂 and a recently certified聽water聽sommelier, has been collaborating with fellow聽water聽sommelier Michael Mascha to produce a 9-part zoomcast series called 鈥淲ater聽is Not Just聽Water鈥 that explores the importance of聽water聽from multiple perspectives. Where does聽water聽come from? Why is it so central to our existence? What are the different sources of聽water, and what contributes to its flavor? How have humans interacted with and controlled聽water聽throughout human history, and what has led to the rise of the bottled聽water聽industry? In the environmental movement, bottled聽water聽is a symbol of corporate greed and needless waste, and companies that produce bottled聽water聽have been vilified for privatizing and commodifying a resource that should be a basic human right, for turning people against their tap聽water聽(even in regions where tap聽water聽is generally safe and well-regulated), and for generating mountains of discarded plastic. Berg and Mascha take a closer look at this industry, particularly the small independent companies that sell fewer bottles from sustainably-drawn sources at a higher price point. In addition to elevating聽water聽to a more prominent position in the epicurean world, these 鈥渟mall聽water聽farmers鈥 may be particularly well-positioned to serve as environmental spokespeople for the protection of natural聽waters in their myriad guises.