On the surface, water bottles as totems of consumer aspiration sound absurd: If you have access to water, you can drink it out of so many things that already exist in your home. But if you dig a little deeper, you find that these bottles sit at a crossroads of cultural and economic forces that shape Americans’ lives far beyond beverage choices. If you can understand why so many people would spend 50 bucks on a water bottle, you can understand a lot about America in 2019.
The first time I coveted a water bottle was in 2004. When I arrived as a freshman at the University of Georgia, I found that I was somehow the last person alive who didn’t own a Nalgene. The brand’s distinctive, lightweight plastic bottles had long been a cult-favorite camping accessory, but in the mid-2000s, they exploded in popularity beyond just outdoorsmen. A version with the school’s logo on it cost $16 in the bookstore, which was a little steep for me, an unemployed 18-year-old, but I bought one anyway. I wanted to be the kind of person all my new peers apparently were. Plus, it’s hot in Georgia. A nice water bottle seemed like a justifiable extravagance.
Around the same time, I remember noticing the first flares of another trend intimately related to the marketability of water bottles: athleisure. All around me, stylish young women wore colorful Nike running shorts and carried bright plastic Nalgenes to class. “With Millennials, fitness and health are themselves signals,” says Tülin Erdem, a marketing professor at NYU. “They drink more water and carry it with them, so it’s an item that becomes part of them and their self-expression.”
.. Kauss says she always knew the bottle’s appearance would be important, even though positioning something as simple as a water bottle as a luxury product was a bit of a gamble. “As I moved up in my career, I was upgrading my wardrobe, and the bottle that looked like a camping accessory really didn’t serve my purpose anymore,” she says. When she noticed fashionable New Yorkers were carrying luxe disposable plastic bottles from brands such as Evian and Fiji, she realized reusable bottles could use a makeover, too.
.. Kauss and her contemporaries struck at the right time. The importance of fitness and wellness were starting to gain a foothold in fashionable crowds, and concerns over consumer waste and plastic’s potential to leach chemicals into food and water were gaining wider attention. People wanted cute workout gear, and they wanted to drink water out of materials other than plastic. Researchers have found that the chance to be conspicuously sustainability-conscious motivates consumers, especially when the product being purchased costs more than its less-green counterparts.
.. For a lot of people, they spark a little bit of joy in the otherwise mundane routine of work, exercise, and personal hygiene. For a generation with less expendable income than its parents’, a nice bottle pays for itself with a month of consistent use and lets you feel like you’re being proactive about your health and the environment.
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) refer to some of the most intensive and frequently occurring sources of stress that children may suffer early in life. Such experiences include multiple types of abuse; neglect; violence between parents or caregivers; other kinds of serious household dysfunction such as alcohol and substance abuse; and peer, community and collective violence.
It has been shown that considerable and prolonged stress in childhood has life-long consequences for a person’s health and well-being. It can disrupt early brain development and compromise functioning of the nervous and immune systems. In addition because of the behaviours adopted by some people who have faced ACEs, such stress can lead to serious problems such as alcoholism, depression, eating disorders, unsafe sex, HIV/AIDS, heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases.
.. researchers concluded that close relationships are what make men happy, and that social ties shield people from life challenges while improving mental and physical health.
.. It turns out that flourishing in life is a function of close ties with family, friends, and community. It had nothing to do with fame, wealth, social class, IQ, genes, etc.
.. Social connections are good for us; loneliness really kills.
While calling loneliness toxic, Waldinger said social connections made people happier and physically healthier. It made them live longer too.
On the other hand, he also said:
“People who are more isolated than they want to be from others find that they are less happy, their health declines earlier in midlife, their brain functioning declines sooner and they live shorter lives than people who are not lonely. And the sad fact is that at any given time, more than one in five Americans will report that they’re lonely.”
Heading into a new week, lawmakers still have no sense of what Trump truly wants on guns and other key agenda items — a pattern that leaders of both parties say has hindered their ability to move forward on knotty issues that could benefit from presidential leadership.
.. After more than a year of the Trump presidency, members of Congress have learned to brace themselves for unpredictable, confusing and often contradictory positions from the commander in chief on issues ranging from health care to immigration to gun rights.
.. With cameras rolling, he pledged to sign any compromise lawmakers could craft, only to reject the outcome days later. Trump’s aides ultimately sent to Congress a lengthy wish list of hard-line immigration ideas Democrats would never support.
.. “I’m sorry to say, I found the president to be totally unreliable when it came to the DACA issue,” said Sen. Richard J. Durbin (Ill.), the No. 2 Senate Democrat whose efforts to craft an immigration deal with Trump foundered. “It really suggests that his effectiveness is compromised as long as his word is unreliable.”
.. “Conceptually, he still supports raising the age to 21,” Sanders said. “But he also knows there’s not a lot of broad support for that.”
.. Sanders also stressed that Trump does not necessarily support “universal” background checks, despite his use of that word previously. “Universal” can mean different things to different people, she said.
.. White House officials and some Trump boosters argue that there’s a method behind what strikes some as madness: sparking conversation among lawmakers, even if it never ends up giving Congress much direction.
.. Others are less charitable, saying that Trump’s flexibility stems from a lack of deeply rooted convictions on many issues.
.. “He’s going with the television headlines from day to day instead of following a policy strategy,” said one Republican consultant close to the White House, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to offer a more candid assessment. “When he sees backlash from Republican lawmakers and others, he shifts his position and then tries to shift the topic to something else.”
.. “You can’t rely on Donald Trump. He is an unreliable narrator of his own story,” Wilson said. “He works off his urges and impulses and not any sort of philosophical framework.”
.. “The president’s sort of lack of policy foundation allows him to flow where he thinks where the country is going.”
.. GOP consultant Doug Heye said Trump should be “uniquely situated” to broker deals on issues such as immigration and guns, given his previous career as a New York real estate developer and the trust his staunchest supporters place in him.
“His base trusts him in a way they wouldn’t with a President Rubio or a President Walker,” Heye said, referring to two of Trump’s 2016 Republican primary rivals, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
.. On Sunday, senators from both parties implored Trump to take a leading role in pushing for gun-control legislation, arguing that his political cover is vital to passing a bill.