Here are a few images of the custom private label bottled waters we made for the Human Impact Institute’s Creative Climate Awards exhibition, photographed on a dark cloth backdrop so the etching shows. Some photos were taken before the bottles were filled.
JET / True Cost Market Bottled Water, $818.27
The price of this True Cost private label JET water represents the carbon footprint of air travel associated with a typical group art exhibition in New York City. In an exhibition with twenty-six different artists and five judges from across the globe, if we assume that just over half of the artist and one of the judges will travel to attend the exhibition via plane, from disparate points of departure including Oakland, California and New Zealand, the total carbon emitted into the atmosphere as a result would be approximately 22.73 metric tons. The price of this bottle of water is equivalent to the cost of offsets for this amount of carbon according to White House-endorsed social cost pricing (SC CO2), giving buyers a chance to symbolically alleviate a significant part of the environmental impact of one New York City art exhibition.
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TAP / True Cost Market Bottled Water, $1,227.60
This True Cost private label TAP water has a price tied to the cost of water needed to sustain one person for a month in places where climate change threatens already precarious water supplies. The price represents the UN-recommended 5.28 gallons of water per day at the average price for bottled water in the US — a relative bargain considering that many of the 783 million people living without access to clean water earn less than two dollars per day and spend ten percent or more of their income on water from privatized sources. For context, the average American pays half a cent per gallon to use fifty times the amount of municipal tap water.
RĪS / True Cost Market Bottled Water, $502.50
he price of this True Cost private label RĪS water represents the average amount that each each New Yorker living in a projected flood zone would have to pay (in today’s dollars) in order to remediate the damage caused by a Hurricane Sandy-like storm if sea levels rise as expected by 2050— a minimum eleven inches, which is the height of this bottle. If we could actually contain the cost of such a storm in this bottle, each sip of water would represent approximately two billion dollars. Forty percent of the world’s population lives in coastal areas where sea level rise can contaminate aquifers with salt and flood treatment facilities, threatening critical water supplies.