Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What Would Happen if Coca-Cola Was Banned?

Someone asked me recently how he should go about going green. I’m sure he expected me to name the usual suspects—like energy-efficient light bulbs—but here’s what I said:

The best way to go green is to start asking questions.

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“Perfect,” I answered. “You’ve gotten into the question-asking spirit already!”

What I meant is that going green isn’t just about what you buy or don’t buy. It’s about a new way of looking at life in general, and your life in specific. It’s about holding up old beliefs to the light to see just what’s there—truth or a spider web of lies.

And then it’s about changing your behavior based on what you find.

The greener you become, the less tolerant you are for untruths in all areas of your life. At least, that’s how it’s been for me. Going green has been my passion for nearly two decades. I see the world through green-colored glasses . . . and sometimes what I see frustrates and alarms me.

But at least I see.

I see Europe and Canada years ahead of us in the testing they’re doing and the laws they’re passing. I see big business in this country convincing the government to do things in the worst interest of its citizens. Here’s a question: Where’s the outrage?

If Congress banned the sale of Coca-Cola, the country would be up in arms. There would be demonstrations, people would call their Senators and Representatives, chaos would ensue. But when Congress, say, blocks a proposal that would have extended the tax breaks that have either expired or are scheduled to end this year for alternative energy development (like solar and wind) and for the promotion of energy efficiency and conservation (which they did last month: http://goinggreen-forlife.blogspot.com/2008/06/what-fck.html) no one makes a peep.

I read recently that the Australian landscape has changed so much over the last few years because of the climate change—indigenous trees no longer grow, many birds are gone—that Aussies are becoming depressed. Life has changed for them, and it's changing for us, too.

In times of change, I understand wanting to hold onto the familiar. Coca-Cola is equated with "classic" American life, but how important will that Coke be when the trees stop growing and the birds are gone?

The good news is that we—every single person—can make a difference. We can’t wait for the US government to see what’s so painfully obvious and be the "leader" it's supposed to be. We can start questioning everything (and I mean everything) and then changing what we can.

That spirit is, after all, as American as organic apple pie!

Question of the blog: Do you think the next US administration will finally begin to make the necessary environmental changes?

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