Corporate warming; the price of buying

Water bottles are gone, but we’re still doomed.

Both Burlington and the United States as a whole have recorded 2012 as the warmest year on the books. Burlington broke the previous mean temperature record by more than 1.5 degrees, an extremely rare and significant number.

According to a Rolling Stone article by Bill McKibben, we are set to surpass our “safe” carbon output by more than fivefold. He points to polls that show two-thirds of Americans favoring a 90 percent cut in global carbon emissions. It seems, however, that large corporations are the ones who emit fossil fuels in the first place.

And trying to convince corporations to cut their cheap, profit-building fossil fuels is “as if the gay-rights movement had to be constructed entirely from evangelical preachers.”

That’s not to say that this water bottle ban is for nothing. It is certainly a step in the right direction and a hint at the necessity for administrative or political action in regard to climate change.

Many people, especially in Vermont, are in favor of movements to protect the environment.  Corporations, on the other hand, may not see their drop in profits as such a good thing and that is exactly the problem.

In a letter to the New York Times Jan. 3, David Larose, Burlington’s division manager of Coca-Cola Bottling of Northern New England, criticized the University for implementing a bottled water ban.  He claimed that there would have been a way to attack the climate crisis “without restricting choice or removing a key revenue stream.”

What Mr. Larose doesn’t understand is what McKibben lays out in his article. Corporations need to continue to profit in order to survive and even though Coca-Cola has taken steps toward a more sustainable product, it is still producing bottles that fuel our climate crisis.

Mr. Larose does get something right, however, in saying that “eliminating a product altogether is not the only answer when it comes to being environmentally responsible.”

It’s not the only solution, but it’s a start. If more policies like this follow and continue on a more global platform, we may be able to tame the beast that we mindlessly created.