Conferences, Stop Giving Bottled Water to Speakers! That's the Next Challenge

steve jobs with water bottle

Imagine if every time Steve Jobs introduced a new product instead of having a water bottle on that podium he had a pitcher and a water glass? Photo:

I’m sure you’ve all been there: You're at some sort of conference, panel discussion or public presentation and every speaker or speakers at the gathering has a brand new bottle of water waiting for them should their whistle need to be wetted. It becomes even more absurd when the event is about green issues, or (gasp) one of the panelists has written about bottled water’s environmental problems.

The meme is out there that the individual carrying a water bottle is better than purchasing bottled water, but it somehow this hasn’t crossed over to event organizers. Let’s change that:Slight Effort = Big Enviro Improvement & Better Guest Experience
If you organize conferences, pledge that you will not supply your speakers with bottled water. Instead provide speakers with a pitcher of water and clear glasses. It a simple, and civil, thing to do that is both greener than the alternative and more welcoming to boot.

If you are a guest at an event where the speakers are served water in bottles, speak up about it. Find the event organizer and politely tell explain to them that supplying speakers with bottled water sends a bad environmental message and would they consider pitchers and glasses in the future.

water pitcher photo

Isn’t that much more enticing than a plastic bottle? Photo: Waldo Jaquith.
A Little Mindfulness Can Go A Long Way
I’m not pointing this out to single out any one person or company (the photo of Steve Jobs with the water bottle and text behind him was too convenient to pass up...), but only to point out that, as with many things in the green sphere, its not harder to do the environmentally better thing; it’s just habit that keeps us from doing so. Somehow bottled water caught on as being marginally easier than supply reusable glasses and now habit has taken over.

What ever happened to proper water glasses and a pitcher anyway? Not only is it better for the environment to be drinking tap water (filtered/purified if need be) instead of bottled water, but it’s a far nicer experience.

What would you rather do? Suck on some plastic spout or drink from the rim of a nice glass?

The Bottled Water Scourge...
So they're not all the biggest images, but you get the idea: Now picture everyone with water glasses and a pitcher of cool water either on the table or on a table nearby. That's what I want to see.

bottled water at conference photo

bottled water at panel discussion photo

bottled water at world bank meeting photo

bottled water afghanistan photo

bottled water at panel photo

bottled water at meeting photo

bottled water at UN photo

images: flickr, Apple Education Communities, World Bank, Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) in Hannover, Secrets of Spiritual Happiness, Colling Accounting & Consulting Ltd, United Nations
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Conferences, Stop Giving Bottled Water to Speakers! That's the Next Challenge
I’m sure you’ve all been there: You're at some sort of conference, panel discussion or

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