A new UK campaign urging people to be more “water wise” lays bare a flaw in the environmental movement, Brendan O’Neill writes in Spiked. The campaign urges people to be conscious of the “virtual water” used on their behalf to carry out tasks like growing coffee beans and feeding cows—as if rich countries airlifted gallons of the stuff away from developing nations.
Of course, water used “virtually” in the UK stays wherever it “literally” is. The campaign is about something else: “Discomfort with human life,” and the feeling that humans have no right to use natural resources, writes O'Neill. Water shortage is a serious issue, but one of distribution, not finite capacity. “Do you know what ‘water neutrality’ really means? Death,” O’Neill rants. “These misanthropic eco-worriers should urgently splash some cold water on their faces.”