How did bottled water become so popular in the first place? Should the tax payers who protect land and water share the profits of those who pump and sell that resource? How is water different from such resources as oil, trees or fishing? What is water bottling actually doing to the environment & to local communities? Is it ethical to profit from the sale of water? If we believe water is a basic human right such as freedom from persecution or equality before the law then why would we let anyone slap a bar code on water?Is it narcissism that pulls people into stores the second they feel thirsty or is it the need for emotional succor? Is bottle water our modern day security blanket? Are large scale commercial extractors compromising the amount or the purity of the water that’s left and who will make that determination? If every action in the eco system is an impact then is it measurable or significant? Are water projects worthwhile? Why should we waste money on bottled water? Should water be a commodity? Why should water be free? Why is it different from food which we also need to live or shelter? Are bottle water companies subverting democracy? Who’s hand do you want on the tap? As clean water grows scarce who is going to own it and who is going to control it? Do we want multination companies to control something so important? Where did all the water go? Will governments be able to afford upgrades? If the United Nation deems water a basic human right what does that actually mean?Who should be doing the protecting of water? Are multinational companies looking to control democratic cities & towns? So what can we do? Why does saving water matter if reservoirs are full? Does it make sense to grow water intensive rice in the arid west? Can industries use recycled water? What’s the big concern? So what do you drink? How do I know if I should be suspicious of my water? If citizens no longer control their most basic resource their water do they control anything at all? Who will make the decisions that will affect our future and who will be excluded? How come a six-pack of bottled water costs more that a gallon of gasoline? Why doesn’t anybody fix the broken water fountains? What’s this about shipping water out of the great lakes in Asia? Why is a US company managing water in Iraq? How are corporations turning water into an asset to be bought & sold? How do corporations intend to spend the profits from the flows? Why don’t we give it a second thought? Are we now basically seeing the issue of human rights versus corporation rights? Should we let market principles dictated water? Should utilities operate as enterprises? Is there any such thing as excess water? How did bottle water become so popular over tap?
Does bottle water fill a perceived need for convenience? Is bottled water popular because like Individual cell phones & iPod’s it’s private & portable? Is bottled water valuable because it has a substantial shelf life? Is Bottled water an absolute critical lifesaver in many natural disasters? Is Bottled water is a significant contributor to actual water problems? Does Bottled water fit the excellent advertising medium by conveying a sense of wholesomeness? Which product would you rather have a child in your care consume several servings of each day? Why support a campaign to demonize the healthiest of these products? Is Bottled Water Always the Enemy? Do we buy bottled water because it's healthy?

Educational Kit


Floating Land began as an outdoor sculpture event in 2001. Floating Land has since grown to include writers, performance artists, musicians, photographers, academics and scientists. Floating Land has gained national and international recognition for nurturing art and environment themes.

Floating Land 2011 theme Water Culture examines the impact of how our lifestyle choices have on our ability to sustain a healthy planet and promotes the need for intergenerational equity to ensure that each generation will inherit the same diversity in natural and cultural resources enjoyed by the previous generations.

In 2009 Floating Land Tamara Kirby & I produced a work at Lake Cootharaba called wandering thirst. Wandering Thirst considered the ‘story of water’ where only one water source is available for the entire planet. This water follows a cyclic path and the changes of what happens to this waters journey affect all of us. Research touched on the culture of water. (Please see for more information on this project.

The work surge  tracks another part of the story of water (and follows on from 2009 research), one that considers ‘water culture’; cultures that are synonymous with our behaviors. A healthy debate about bottled water is a common factor, but does it really change how we behave?  

Community & School Screenings campaign Action for the Environment
Addicted to Plastic is anticipated for viewing
Two screenings of the documentary Addicted to Plastic (

Directed by Ian Connacher Produced by Cryptic Moth Productions) is a point-of-view style documentary that encompasses three years of filming in 12 countries on 5 continents, including two trips to the middle of the Pacific Ocean where plastic debris accumulates. The film details plastic's path over the last 100 years and provides a wealth of expert interviews on practical and cutting edge solutions to recycling, toxicity and biodegradability. These solutions - which include plastic made from plants - will provide viewers with a new perspective about our future with plastic.
Community & School Collection Points – recycled water bottles
  • Just how many plastic water bottles are in communities?
  • Collection bags will be distributed at various points in the community and school environment (pending permission). These points have the sole purpose for the collection of used water bottles. The water bottles will be used in the finished artwork outcome at Coolum.
Ways to develop tangible Projects at School that will start conversation about issues that affect us all(These are only suggestions)

  •  Raise visibility and educated people about issues
  • Recruits different people to the action and identifies potential leaders
  • Builds strength and credibility for the issue
  • Highlight issues to the broader community

  • Generate a tap versus bottle taste testing
  • Find out about local water supply
  • Are water fountains maintained and used in your school community?
  • Do the fountains need water filters to improve quality?
  • Organize and promote a bottle free event for staff, faculty and students (this could be for the showing of the film Addicted to Plastic)
  • What are the alternatives to bottled water at the school?
  • Write letters advocating for your cause
  • Apply for Environmental Grants to organize community or school projects associated with water issues
  • Find sponsors for reusable water bottle containers, these could be branded with the school logo and could be promoted as a fundraiser
Facts from
o    Australians spend more than half a billion a year on bottled water. Australia produced 582.9 million litres of bottled water in 2009-10
o    Producing and delivering a litre of bottled water can emit hundreds of times more greenhouse gases than a litre of tap water.
o    In many cases, a litre of bottled water is more expensive than a litre of petrol.
o    Australia recycles only 36% of PET plastic drink bottles. Assuming the 582.9 million litres of bottled water produced in 2009-10 is in litre bottles, according to these figures, 373 million of those bottles will end up as waste.
o    Australia’s annual use of bottled water generates more than 60,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions - the same amount that 13,000 cars generate over the course of a year
o    Approximately 15,253.79 tons of PET was used in the packaging of bottled water in 2009-10.
o    The manufacture of every ton of PET produces around 3 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2)5. In Australia, bottling water has thus created more than 45.7 thousand tons of CO2 in 2009-10, excluding the significant amounts of CO2 produced in the transportation and refrigeration of bottled water.
o    Approximately 52.5 million litres of oil was used in 2009-10 to produce the PET used to package bottled water in Australia, excluding the energy used in transportation and refrigeration.
o    More energy is used to fill the bottles, move them by truck, train, ship, or air, refrigerate them and recover, recycle or discard the empty bottles. The Pacific Institute estimates that the total amount of energy embedded in the use of bottled water can be as high as the equivalent of filling a plastic bottle one quarter full with oil. Therefore, more than 145.7 million litres of oil was used in the production, transportation, refrigeration and recycling/disposing of bottled water in Australia in 2009-10