Nestlé, Phoenix water, and the bicycle shed problem
Water writer John Fleck explains how the proposed Nestle bottling plant in Phoenix is a “bicycle shed” problem, or: “How We Distract Ourselves from Complex Critical Problems By Attacking What We Think We Know About.”
Around the world, from the U.K. to India, governments and NGOs are formulating plans and raising funds to restore river and floodplain habitat. Much of this restoration work is undertaken in the interest of minimizing or rolling back the effects of disturbances, such as hurricanes, erosion, and urban development, and shoring up resilience, a river’s natural ability to resist disturbances. However, the words used to explain river systems have come to explain what threatens them, and to explain what river restoration must therefore accomplish. Words shape deeds.