This is an open thread, but I changed the title to share on social media. Thanks! -Elisa
Okay. Here it goes. As many of you know this blog is a labor of love for me. I don’t get paid to maintain it. Can I ask you for a donation instead? No amount is too small!
So my home city of Berkeley, CA, has a soda tax on the ballot that could have repercussions for the rest of the country. The soda industry knows it and has dumped a whopping $1.7 million to defeat it. It is, by the far, the most money ever spent on a ballot measure in our city.
Why I support Measure D: the rising rates of type 2 diabetes and heart disease — which is the No. 1 killer in the U.S. — isn’t any one person’s fault. There are a lot of systemic issues at play: the lack of flexible work schedules to exercise, the lack of safe and open space to exercise, food deserts (or lack of available and affordable fresh food), and junk food and beverage marketing.
It’s a huge and overwhelming issue to tackle, but if we were to wait until every single piece is lined up, nothing would be done. We have to start somewhere, which is why I support Measure D as a volunteer and donor.
The food and beverage industry — junky food and drinks that is — spend $2 billion a year marketing to children. And it works! They made $60 billion — with a “b” — last year. 56% of 8-year-olds drink at least one can of soda a day.
Soda is available in every store shelf in every town and city and village all over the world. You may not have access to an education or sanitary water, but you can have a coke! In fact, it is often the default drink in a child’s menu at a restaurant and more readily available than water.
Why soda and not chocolate milk? As it turns out sugar-sweetened beverages like soda are the No. 1 source for added sugar in a child’s — and for that matter, an adult’s — diet.
While I don’t expect soda consumption to fall dramatically in the Bay Area following a 1 cent per liter soda tax — which would apply to the distributor — at the very least, passing Measure D would help educate the public and stigmatize the consumption of soda. It would also provide the city with needed funds.
The money from Measure D would go to the general fund. But this allows voters to pass the tax with a mere 50% of the vote. Also, the entire Berkeley City Council and our biggest activists like author Alice Walker support it and are aware of the intention behind the money. (Public health!)
Berkeley was the first in the nation to have a recycling program. It was ground zero for the American with Disabilities Act. Could it be ground zero in the fight against heart disease? I certainly hope so!
Please join me and donate to the Measure D fund. Thank you so much!
What else is in the news? What’s up with you?