Monthly Archives: September 2011

Will You Join the “Life’s Sweeter with Fewer Sugary Drinks” Challenge?

Life’s pretty sweet at times, but a lot of us overdo it with sugary drinks. They’re fun to have, and children in particular get into the habit of drinking sodas and such rather than make healthier choices. The Life’s Sweeter with Fewer Sugary Drinks challenge is about changing that habit.

Signing up is easy, just fill out the form on the site.  They’ll give you a free download with tips on how to help promote the campaign. A lot of the focus is on getting businesses and institutions to make changes in the drinks they make available, but individuals can participate as well. I learned about this challenge at Be the Catalyst.

The focus on is getting people to drink fewer sodas, energy drinks, sports drinks, fruit drinks that aren’t 100% juice, and the like. The goal sounds amazingly easy to me, as I personally rarely drink even fruit juice, the kids only get 100% juice as an easy drink to carry to school (yes, reusable bottles), and my son only gets Gatorade for his soccer practice or games. Sodas and such are a rare treat for my kids, not a weekly thing. Makes the goal of bringing the average number of sugary drinks down to no more than three 12 ounce cans a week seem pretty easy for us. The current national average is more than twice that.

I have to say I don’t consider our current habits perfect by any means. The Gatorade thing for my son’s soccer practice isn’t a favorite of mine, but a firm preference of my husband’s, which I have not chosen to argue much with. It could easily be replaced with plain water most of the time. I was glad to have him drinking it a couple weeks ago when it was already over 100 degrees F by the end of his 8 a.m. soccer game (they really should have cancelled the rest of the games that day, way too hot and humid and one girl did pass out from the heat later in the day at a game), but most times water and some fruit or other healthy snack should be plenty rehydrating.

Even though it’s 100% juice, limiting juice intake is important. That’s why my kids only get that at school. I send it because they drink it well, and it’s easier to deal with than milk. I have frozen milk cubes we’ll use to send milk as a drink later in the school year, but as we’ve been having days mostly over 100 degrees F, I’ve wanted something that travels better. It’s quite heavily iced to keep it cold, so I don’t doubt that it’s well watered down by the time they’re actually drinking it. At home, it’s almost all milk or water.

As an individual, the steps you take in this campaign are quite simple. Don’t drink so many sugary drinks, and don’t serve or make available so many to your family, especially to children under the age of 6. My kids have always had fresh water available to them all day, and they love it. They’ll gladly take sugary drinks if available, but they usually aren’t so it’s just a nonissue.

Remember, cutting down on sugary drinks isn’t just about the money, although you can save quite a bit by drinking more water and less of other drinks. It’s even more about your health, as sugary drinks add an amazing number of calories to your diet in an unhealthy way

Need New Outdoor Gear? Patagonia Says Seek Out Used First

Talk about walking the walk. I just read an article about Patagonia, an outdoor merchandise retailer, strongly encouraging people to look into buying used gear before buying new from them. That’s a pretty amazing thing to hear from a company which won’t be profiting on said sales of used gear, but I like it.

This is a part of their Common Threads Initiative, and participants get special privileges to sell their used Patagonia gear on eBay’s Patagonia Common Threads Initiative site, which also appears to show up on Patagonia’s website in the used clothing and gear section.

The pledge is pretty simple:

I pledge to buy only what I need.

I pledge to repair items when they are broken.

I pledge to use what I have, sell what I don’t need, and buy used when I can.

I pledge to keep my stuff out of landfills.

Together we will reimagine a planet where we take only what nature can replace.

Sounds to me like something that anyone trying to live an eco friendly lifestyle can agree to, even though it won’t always be easy. I believe most people will be challenged significantly by the Repair part, as well as the Recycle part, as even the best intentioned of us usually generate some trash that goes into the landfill.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out for Patagonia as a business. They’ve shown themselves to be quite active in environmental causes, but this step may impact their bottom line.

That said, I don’t know that it will be a big impact. There are still plenty of people who will be solely interested in Patagonia’s products as products, and not for the environmental philosophy. I expect there will continue to be plenty of people buying new from them.