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Starbucks’ Ethos Water fund comes up dry

By Verónica Figueroa vfigueroa@valenciavoice.com

Starbucks donates $0.05 and $0.10 Canadian dollars per bottle sold to the Ethos Water Fund. Yes, a nickel for every $1.80 bottle. Star- bucks had made a goal to

have $10 million, for human- itarian grants, by 2010. It is now January 2011, and they have only made $6.2 million. “Due to a challenging economy and changes in Ethos Water distribution, Starbucks must extend the timeline to reach our $10

million beyond

contribution goal 2010,” Starbucks’

Customer Care commented. You’d think that if they choose to donate more from the earnings they make from the water bottles they would have reached their goal a long time ago. “We remain committed to our $10 million

goal and to raising aware- ness of the world water cri- sis through the sales of Ethos Water,” said Customer Care. In 2005, Starbucks bought the company called Ethos Wa- ter from Peter Thum and Jona- than Greenblatt for $8 million. Thum worked in Africa for six months with McKinsey and Company, a global man- agement consulting firm. During his time there, he saw the trouble people had getting sanitized water. It sparked his mission to help children get clean water. He partnered with Greenblatt, his busi- ness school classmate, and in

By Victor Ocasio vocasio@valenciavoice.com K2, a widely manufactured product mar- keted as incense, has grown in popularity over recent years for its more practical use as a smoking substitute for marijuana, giving us- ers a similar mental euphoria comparable to that of its illegal and criminalized counterpart. As of December 24 of last year, the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency announced plans to out- law certain blends of the incense for one year in order to conduct medical research to determine if the blends will be placed on the United States’ list of controlled substances similarly to cannabis. Pot substitute causes distress for lawmakers Containing a synthetic form of THC, the ac- tive ingredient in marijuana, K2 is part of a grow- ing industry including other brands such as Spice and Red X Dawn that are sold state-wide at locally owned gas stations and smoke shops. Only 16 states have set in place laws regarding the use of K2 and four states (Kentuck , Louisiana, Michigan and Ore- gon) have banned it complete- ly.The substance has remained in almost a legal loop hole within varying state legislation. Florida remains in the majority of states that have not banned its use, sale, or possession. But issues regarding the recreational use of these synthetic substances in place of marijuana remain present, with the only medical observa- tions being those made by doctors treating emer- gency room patients who have smoked the incense. Reported side effects have included anxi-


2003 they had their company. In an article written by Melissa Allison for “The Se- attle Times,” she writes that, “Ethos has generated more than $6.2 million to support water, sanitation, and hy- giene education programs in Africa and Asia.” This state- ment is remarkably simi- lar to an e-mail I received when I inquired about their goal. Melissa Allison’s ar- ticle was written in 2008. So is another year go- ing to have to pass for them to reach their $10 million goal? In the meantime, Star- bucks will be pocketing the

$1.75 it makes per bottle. On the other hand, Scott Harrison began an organi- zation called Charity: water. Harrison, a photojournalist, traveled on Mercy Ships, a humanitarian organization which offers free medical care in the world’s poorest na- tions. He visited Africa and was immediately humbled. On the website, charity- water.org, it reads, “charity: water is a non-profit orga- nization bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations. We use 100% of public dona- tions to directly fund sus-

tainable water solutions in areas of greatest need. Just $20 can give one person clean water for 20 years.” As of Nov. 1 2010, Char- ity: water has raised more than $20 million and funded 3,196 projects. In just four years, they have made far more progress than Ethos. So while Starbucks and Ethos attempt to drag on their project a while longer, Harrison and Charity: water are out making a difference in underdeveloped nations.

et ,




heart blood

rate, hallucinations, nau- pressure and paranoia.

Despite all this surface evidence pointing to- ward the legitimate medical dangers of K2, it is still as easy to purchase as a pack of gum. Cannabis plays an overwhelming role in Ameri- ca’s underground culture, it’s status as a Schedule 1 drugmakescontinuedresearchonit’spossiblehealth benefits a tedious process for scientists and doctors. Even with all of this early research point- ing toward the benefits of marijuana, and K2’s soon to be evident negative health effects, pub- lic health concerns are not the major factor guiding the agenda of governmental powers. It seems that those in charge have their priorities reversed, led by hypocrisy and backward rulings, and are leaving the impressionable youth no legal recourse besides turning to a substance as mysteri- ous as its name would suggest, putting their selves at a greater risk than they would using cannabis.

Escaping the issue is impossible; Americans have, will and are smoking marijuana. Perhaps beating around the bush and putting lives at risk isn’t the best solution to a resolvable issue. May- be legalization isn’t the worst that can happen.


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