from the world's big
Coca-Cola's Adorable Lies About Polar Bears
Coca-Cola is by no means the first company to ignore inconvenient animal behavior facts, so we shouldn't be too hard on them. To Coke's credit, they do support polar bear research and conservation efforts.
This post originally appeared on the Newton blog on RealClearScience. You can read the original here.
Like peas and carrots, Coca-Cola and polar bears were meant for each other. Since 1993, the soda company has driven this notion home each winter, releasing adorable and fuzzy advertisements that radiate joy and warmth despite the arctic chill on screen and -- for many viewers -- outside.
But as heartwarming as those advertisements are, they cannot breeze by the cold hard facts. Coca-Cola is lying to you about polar bears!
Nowhere is this more apparent than in their 2013 critically acclaimed short film, The Polar Bears. Produced by the venerable director Ridley Scott, it lovingly depicts a family of polar bears suffering through a bout of sibling rivalry and daddy drama before, of course, reaching an "awwwwww" inducing conclusion.
Now, before playing the scientific Scrooge, I'd like to say that I really enjoyed the film! It's innocent, spirited, and tender -- something to show to your kids this holiday season. But it's also woefully inaccurate. (Spoilers to come.)
Filmmakers are permitted to anthropomorphize cartoon animals, so let's gloss over a few obvious points: Polar bears don't speak English, nor do they dance choreographed numbers with puffins. And they definitely don't drink Coca-Cola, vastly preferring energy-rich seal blubber to carbonated high-fructose corn syrup.
But less obvious is the fact that polar bears don't group together. The film shows a host of polar bear families forming some sort of community similar to the lion pride in Disney's The Lion King. They do nothing of the sort. In general, polar bears live very solitary lives, wandering the Arctic in search of food. Though adult males are occasionally known to form "friendships" with each other.
Another inaccuracy is the presence of the younger sister, Kaia. She's absolutely adorable, but she also shouldn't exist. In reality, the mother, Sakari, would never have another cub until her older children -- brothers Jak and Zook -- had left. Polar bear mothers usually abandon or drive off their cubs when they reach two and a half years of age.
The third and largest inaccuracy in the film is the relationship between the father, Kaskae, and his cubs. Rather than acting as a stern, but doting dad (as he is depicted), in reality Kaskae would be long gone, and if he returned, he might even eat his children. Once a male wins the right to mate with a female, often through intense and bloody competition with rivals, he remains with her for about a week, during which time the two mate repeatedly. But after the week of loving, the male skedaddles, leaving the pregnant female to fend for herself. Such is love in the frigid, unforgiving Arctic. The harsh environment has also been blamed for cannibalism and infanticide. When food is scarce, adult males have been known to prey upon cubs.
Coca-Cola is by no means the first company to ignore inconvenient animal behavior facts, so we shouldn't be too hard on them. To Coke's credit, they do support polar bear research and conservation efforts, pledging two million dollars over five years via the Arctic Home project to "define a place where polar bears and people can thrive in the Arctic." In addition, the company has reportedly "raised over $3 million to date in consumer and matched donations for the project."
Still, those numbers are positively diminutive compared to Coke's net income last quarter: a whopping $2.45 billion. Hey, Coke! I think your bears deserve a little holiday bonus this year!
(Images: AP and Shutterstock)
Join multiple Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress Judith Light live on Big Think at 2 pm ET on Monday.
Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.
- A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
- Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
- Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
A pile of recycled cardboard sits on the ground at Recology's Recycle Central on January 4, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images<p>A large part of the reason is speed. In a competitive market, pure players use the equation, <em>speed + convenience</em>, to drive adoption. This is especially relevant to the "last mile" GHG footprint: the distance between the distribution center and the consumer.</p><p>Interestingly, the smallest GHG footprint occurs when you order directly from a physical store—even smaller than going there yourself. Pure players, such as Amazon, are the greatest offenders. Variables like geographic location matter; the team looked at shopping in the UK, the US, China, and the Netherlands. </p><p>Sadegh Shahmohammadi, a PhD student at the Netherlands' Radboud University and corresponding author of the paper, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/tech/greenhouse-gas-emissions-retail/index.html" target="_blank">says</a> the above "pattern holds true in countries where people mostly drive. It really depends on the country and consumer behavior there."</p><p>The researchers write that this year-and-a-half long study pushes back on previous research that claims online shopping to be better in terms of GHG footprints.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They have, however, compared the GHG emissions per shopping event and did not consider the link between the retail channels and the basket size, which leads to a different conclusion than that of the current study."</p><p>Online retail is where convenience trumps environment: people tend to order one item at a time when shopping on pure player sites, whereas they stock up on multiple items when visiting a store. Consumers will sometimes order a number of separate items over the course of a week rather than making one trip to purchase everything they need. </p><p>While greening efforts by online retailers are important, until a shift in consumer attitude changes, the current carbon footprint will be a hard obstacle to overcome. Amazon is trying to have it both ways—carbon-free and convenience addicted—and the math isn't adding up. If you need to order things, do it online, but try to consolidate your purchases as much as possible.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.