To follow up on my last post about Coke’s “Vote for Your Favorite Park” campaign...
I was at Sleeping Giant today, and met a seemingly sane young woman. During our short conversation, I happened to mention Coke’s marketing contest that will give $100,000 to the State or National Park that gains the most votes on their website. And that I thought it was a cool thing for the company to do.
And then I got hit with a verbal two by four - Didn’t I realize that the reason America’s kids are overweight is because of companies like Coke! How could someone like me, who purportedly lives a healthy lifestyle (I hike therefore I am) even think of supporting this campaign to make Coke look better??
First I had to clear something up. I enjoy a good hike. I also enjoy a bacon cheeseburger and a bottle of Yuengling. Guess that makes me tough to pigeonhole.
Next I turned her around, pointed out toward the mountain, and said “Coca Cola, a 30 billion dollar multi-national corporation, is going to drop 100 grand on a single park. Why not this one?”
I fully agree we drink too much soda, I think we pay way too much for bottled water, and I don’t touch ‘energy drinks’. I may not be Coke's prime target as a customer. I prefer Coke over other colas, but I won’t go out of my way to get one. I drink water at home and on the trail. If we go out I'll order ice tea. I'll have a beer anytime, anywhere. At the same time, I am happy to point people to Coke's website and get them to vote in this contest if it means some park gets to add a big chunk of change to its budget and people start to think about a park they really do enjoy.
There’s a lot of good that can be done between the extremes of any argument. Let’s not get hung up on the fringes.
Here’s a suggestion for my new friend. Take the money. Open a new section. Build a new trail. Fund a program to bring elementary school kids into the park. Get them to hike, run and play and work up a thirst. Then show them how you drink tap water run through a Brita filter in your reusable water bottle. Show them there’s a better way. But take the money!!
Spending the money on "Coke is the Devil" t-shirts may not get you taken seriously. But on something encouraging a better lifestyle? Now we're talking.
OK, climbing down off my soapbox, I'm reminded I was on a hike today. It was a beautiful day - warm, sunny, a nice breeze to keep the bugs away. I zigzagged across the mountain on the red trails (Diamond, Hex, Triangle and two thirds of the Circle) and took the White back to the park's main entrance.
The rivers that, in spring, run down cascades and waterfalls were nearly dry. Teresa wrote a good post about that a couple of weeks ago in her blog "In the Field" - and she's got pictures.
Everyone I passed seemed happy and friendly, all with a smile and kind word. Then near the end of the hike on the blue trail, a doe and her fawn were making their way down to and across the river - much to the delight of three kids walking down for a swim with their Dad.
I’m just a walking contradiction.