It is known as the Last Ice Area.
It is an approximately 500,000 square mile expanse of Arctic ice that Canada shares with Greenland, which is also thought by scientists to be the last refuge for animals such as polar bears that need that ocean ice to survive, simply because it will outlast the surrounding ice.
And good news!
Coca-Cola is going to save that ice!
It is a collaboration between the soda pop giant and the World Wildlife Fund known as Arctic Home, whereby Coca-Cola helps WWF raise the necessary funds to work with local indigenous people and local governments in the Arctic to establish a management plan for the Last Ice Area – and save the polar bear.
Starting in 2011, Coca-Cola is contributing $2 million over a five-year period.
Additionally, the company was matching up to $1 million in donations to the campaign until February 15 of this year as part of Arctic Home 2012, along with other fundraising and awareness efforts.
One way the average person could help was by redeeming something known as Coke Rewards in the form of donations to the fund.
It is all for a very good cause.
And I actually do applaud Coca-Cola – an entity that could easily be thought a cold and heartless mega-corporation – for taking action.
But it also leaves a taste in my mouth that definitely isn’t as sweet as their refined sugar-infused soft drinks.
It is a very sour taste.
It is because a company that is such a major contributor to the unsustainable nature of our North American lifestyle is also claiming that we can help them fix one of the most significant environmental problems of our time by continuing to support that lifestyle – by indulging in that lifestyle.
How do they think we earn Coke Rewards?
We do so by consuming diabetes-inducing pop and fruit juice, neurotoxin-laced diet drinks and glorified tap water from plastic bottles that can only ever be fractions of new bottles if recycled at all.
Sure. You can now drink your remineralized Dasani from a vessel that contains as much as thirty per cent plant material. But is that really the best use of a plant? It could be food for humans or our animal cousins. It could be shade for a stream where trout prefer to spawn. It could be a carbon sink.
Or maybe that plant material is just the leftovers from vast cornfields reduced to the prime suspect in the obesity epidemic – high fructose corn syrup!
Let us not be naïve.
Coca-Cola – as any company with an image problem might do – is simply co-opting an icon of the Far North and a tragic hero in the climate change drama to prove their social conscience and earn their social license.
But I guess we should support their efforts anyway.
After all, it is probably just that any company – the only companies – with the financial wherewithal to put a serious dent in the social and environmental problems facing the planet today have built that wealth at the expense of human and environmental health.
If they want to assuage their guilt by doing a good deed, I guess we should just get onboard.
And after we are done saving the polar bear, we can turn our attention to the poor Pacific Ocean albatross with bellies full of plastic, probably including a few scraps of Coca-Cola bottles.
Maybe Enbridge can help.