June 12, 2013 by drandmrso
I love listening to podcasts and audiobooks when I’m driving or at the gym or doing chores around the house. I canceled my Audible account last summer, but I’m thinking about starting it up again now that we’ve got a bit more disposable income. Audible is a website that gives you a certain amount of credits each month (based on your membership level) to put toward audiobooks that you can then download to your computer or Kindle or iThingy.
Even though I closed my account I can go back at any time and access the files that I’ve already paid for. I perused my accumulated library recently and found I had quite a few books that I hadn’t listened to yet. “A History of the World in Six Glasses” by Tom Standage caught my eye (ear?) and I listened to it over the course of about a week.
Sadly, I found myself zoning out quite a bit. For a book all about liquids it was surprisingly dry (if you’ll forgive the pun). The historical research was thorough, but the overarching thesis that drinks changed the course of history was far-fetched and links to “evidence” were loose at best. And by “a history of the world” he almost exclusively means “a history of the Western world.” All that said, it was quite interesting to learn little tidbits about the big six: beer, wine, spirits (focusing on rum), coffee, tea, and cola. For instance, did you know that the Egyptians paid workers in beer and drank it through a straw? Or that drinking wine without watering it down first was considered barbaric in ancient Greece? Or that women originally weren’t allowed in European coffeehouses? Or that growing tea was a major impetus for British colonial control of India?
As I said, the tidbits were interesting, but I found much of the theory unconvincing…until the epilogue, which focused on water and the increasing amount to which it is wasted in developed countries (ahem – golf courses with perfect grass in the desert) and unsanitary or inaccessible in underdeveloped countries. Water is one liquid that truly will alter political, social, and ethical actions in the future.
Which is part of the reason why I’m giving up soda. No ifs, ands, or buts. Not only is it a phenomenal waste of water (in everything from the packaging to the drink itself), it is terrible for you—yes, even diet soda. Check out this article from Co.Exist which includes a great infographic about all the ways soda does bad things to your system, like affecting reproductive health if the soda comes in a plastic bottle containing BPA (and the article says 99.9% of the bottles do).
I only drink maybe 1 or 2 cans of soda a week so this admittedly is not a huge sacrifice for me, but I find it important nonetheless. How about you? What kinds of liquid habits have you changed, or do you need to change?