Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Give a Hoot--Don't Pollute

I'm a big fan of the AMC show Mad Men. If you're unfamiliar with the show, it's about a bunch of hard-drinking, smoking, loutish ad men in the early 1960's. The creators of the show go that extra mile to really make it a period piece--not only in terms of style, but attitudes and social norms.

So yesterday, I'm watching a Mad Men rerun from the second season. The suave, philandering anti-hero, Don Draper, takes his family for a picnic in a pretty rural spot. The eat, relax, play checkers, then when it's time to go, Don finishes swilling his beer, crushes the can and throws it into the woods. His Grace Kellyish, dutiful wife starts to pack up the picnic, then lifts the blanket, depositing all the paper plates, cups, etc. onto the ground and just leaves it there.

Now, I remember people doing this in the 1960's. No one thought about cleaning up after themselves in public parks, the woods etc. Then came the 1970's and the anti-pollution message started coming on fast and furious.

Remember Woodsy the Owl and his "Give a Hoot, Don't Pollute" ads? I do.

Then there was the famous commercial with the older Indian man crying over pollution.

The point is that these ad campaigns worked. People did change their attitudes so that by the end of the 1970's it became unthinkable to have a picnic and not clean up your garbage after yourself.

So, when I look at the efforts of both Michelle Obama and Jamie Oliver to get this country on the path to eating right. I have hope. I truly believe that this country is waking up to the fact that we can not continue on the culinary course we've been on. Fast food is not our future.

Can we learn to cook and make our own food again? I think we can. I think we can also learn to love real food, and to reassign over-processed, nutritionally devoid food to it's appropriate place--the garbage bin.


  1. I sure do enjoy your posts - thanks for posting such great information.

  2. I love Mad Men, maybe because I recall those days oh too well, including the littering and the sexual harassment (which there was no phrase for and which had no consequences for the offenders.) But it costs individuals nothing to pick up their own litter, and yet the US government passed serious anti-litter legislation AND placed trash receptacles in public places where there had been none before. In other words, the government spent a great deal of money to make it easier for people to pick up their own trash (and to pick up other people's trash in some cases). Before, folks had to haul their picnic garbage back home, for instance, because there was maybe one small trash bin, if any, at a huge picnic ground or park.

    Right now, in my area, a family can buy two McDoubles for one dollar at my local McD's. That's four patties of meat, two slices of cheese, two buns, and condiments. Now, across the street at the warehouse market (a good one, by the way), green peppers cost $1.74 a piece. Yellow peppers are $1.51. A small bag of apples costs $3.22. Granted, this is not a great time of year for the price of peppers or apples, but COME ON!!!!! When it comes time to feed your 2 kids, are you gonna give them each part of a pepper or a couple apples when you can buy each of them a McDouble and still have money left over?

    Also, my neighborhood doesn't even have sidewalks! We walk, and push our baby strollers, in the street. This does not encourage exercise. And our water has been too polluted to drink for several years ("natural" radiation in the wells, believe it or not). Everyone has to buy their water and lug it home (another expense) or risk their family members getting cancer.

    Many of the folks writing and reading these diet blogs are very privileged and don't realize how HUGE a struggle it is to pay for decent food, or how hard it is to find safe places to exercise with the family. Yeah, I know some of us work 2 & 3 jobs, and have to eliminate all luxaries, and we sacrifice to feed our families healthy food. But let's face it. The families we see in Mad Men would never have to struggle to purchase good quality food. Heck, the money those men & women spent on cigs and booze alone would feed an entire family an all-organic diet.

    Until the government starts putting their money where their mouth is--starts making healthier food more affordable and creates more convenient, safe, and inexpensive places to exercise--the US population will continue to have serious obesity related health issues.

    **sighs, and humbly stumbles off soap box, out of breath**

    Thanks for provoking a VERY IMPORTANT discussion!!! I hope others will chime in.

  3. I've thought for a long time that PSA's would be a great way to get the message to a great number of people. There are any number of people who share essentially the same beliefs about food and who are in the public eye and could get the message out there.