Coca-Cola has stopped supporting a pro-plastic lobbying firm after pressure from Greenpeace
via Mike Mozart / Flickr

By the end of the decade, over half a trillion single-use plastic bottles will be sold annually. In 2016, fewer than half those bottles were picked up for recycling and just seven percent were turned into new bottles.

The Coca-Cola Company, which owns Coke products and some of the biggest brands in the beverage industry, including Minute Maid, Sprite, Dasani, and Smart Water, is responsible for over 100 billion single-use plastic bottles produced annually.

Americans, especially millennials, are becoming increasingly concerned with the dangers caused by single-use plastics. A study published in Market Watch found 73 percent of millennials would pay more for sustainable products compared with 66 percent among all generations.


Feeling the heat from the country's growing plastic concerns, Coca-Cola has left the Plastics Industry Association, a lobbying firm that worked to prevent plastic-bag bans in the U.S. Pepsi said it is planning on leaving the organization later this year. The alliance helped push 15 states in the U.S. to pass laws to prevent bag bans from taking effect.

Related: Joe Rogan called out SeaWorld's treatment of dolphins and whales and he makes a great point.



Greenpeace said the two beverage giants left the trade association after environmental groups raised concerns about plastics industry environmental policies. https://t.co/arElNcuLkQ via @plasticsnews
— Don Loepp (@donloepp) July 23, 2019

Greenpeace is claiming victory over Coca-Cola's decision. In 2018, the environmentalist group highlighted the lobbying firm's role in undermining progress of plastic pollution.

"Companies understand that they cannot publicly say they want to end plastic pollution, while financially supporting an association that lobbies for our continued reliance on throwaway plastics," said Greenpeace USA Oceans Campaign Director John Hocevar.

"This is a victory for every person that spoke up and asked Coca-Cola and PepsiCo to put their money where their mouths are and tell the Plastics Industry Association to stop preventing plastic reduction efforts," Hocevar continued.

Last year Coca-Cola announced an ambitious plan to create packaging made of at least 50 percent recycled material by 2030; to help collect and recycle a bottle or can for every one the company sells by 2030; and to partner with industry, governments, and local communities to tackle the global issue of plastic waste. Coca-Cola's association with a lobbying firm that aggressively works to undermine efforts to reduce plastic pollution seemed hypocritical to say the least.

The company's decision to leave the lobbying organization is noble, but it comes at a time when global plastic production is well past 350 million tons a year with no signs of slowing. Greenpeace's work to stop Coca-Cola's support of an environmentally harmful organization shows the power environmentalists and consumers have to cull the efforts of gross polluters.


Coca-Cola, 1971 - 'Hilltop' | "I'd like to buy the world a Coke" www.youtube.com

Hopefully, in the future consumers can wise up and realize if we want the world in harmony, it's probably best to buy it a Coke.


Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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