Every now and then, I come across an idea or a product that makes being all virtuous and green so easy and painless that you feel like you’ve cheated. A perfect example is the Amazing Penguin Water Carbonator. Seriously, this is the most incredible gadget I’ve bought since. . .oh, the iPod. Except that everyone and his brother has an iPod, maybe two, and the iPod doesn’t have the added advantage of making you feel marvelously Greener-Than-Thou. I’m serious, this gadget may be the single most valuable thing you can do for the environment. At least, that you can do in less than 15 minutes. Let me explain.
It started with a blurb I read on Ideal Bite, the punchy, snarky daily email newsletter that gives fun, easy tips for green living. (Subscribe immediately if you don’t get it.) The Biters urged me to buy only local bottled water, if I just couldn’t stomach tap, as shipping Pellegrino from Italy or Perrier from France to San Francisco burned more carbon than Dick Cheney could in a month of Sundays. One of their suggestions was to carbonate your own water. And they offered a link to The Amazing Penguin. Having transferred my susceptibility for late night infomercials (yes, I own Ginsu knives) to email offers, I immediately clicked and read. The money-back guarantee hooked me, as it always does, and within weeks I was a new Penguin owner.
This thing really lives up to the advertising. In fact it exceeds it. First of all, it not only carbonates water with a touch to the Penguin’s beak, but it lets you CALIBRATE the extent of carbonation so you can approximate your favorite type of sparkling water. Secondly, it comes with two great carafes with resealable tops, so you can carbonate and store your water. Third, it’s a blast. While people, during our Pub evenings, used to gather in amazement over Andy’s array of single malts, now everyone wants to work the Penguin. And did I mention it also comes with loads of flavor packs so you can make your own Coke, Fanta Orange and Cherry Cola? (In the interest of full disclosure, I find these disgusting. But I’m not a soda person.)
Best of all, with every carbonating blast of the Penguin, you feel more and more virtuous as you calculate the rapidly shrinking size of your carbon footprint. Not only are we lightening the loads of all those trawlers shipping over Pellegrino, but we’re reducing truckloads of sparkling water-bearing long haul trucks bringing them to our local Whole Foods. Not to mention the energy we’ve offset for the recycling truck and plant that would have had to process the empty bottles! Green and fun. What could be better? I’m now nursing a three carafe habit and we’re starting to give them as Christmas and shower gifts.
Go ahead. Get a Penguin now. It’s clean and green and, as you can see from the above picture, it’s conveniently smaller than your average terrier. And penguins are really cool now. Can you imagine how kids will love “penguin water”?
The best part, when you can’t sleep at night worrying about the melting Polar ice-caps, just do the Penguin Math. Figure out how many Penguins you’ve given and use and calculate how much carbon you’re offsetting by keeping those water-drinkers from importing water from Fiji or Sweden. And how much plastic did you avoid the need for now that you all aren’t buying water in plastic bottles? Use this to help your calculations. Okay, we aren’t going to solve this thing tomorrow, but we can make a dent. One Penguin at a time.
Note: Spokesterrier Lucy has waived her usual fee in lieu of a donation to the Sierra Club.