This is an op-ed that I had to write as part of a writing test for a job interview. It is based on a purely fictional case, but the topic was significant enough to get me thinking about some very (painfully) real issues that we face today, and why they don’t seem to be resolved as fast as we would like them to.
For obvious reasons, this had to be password-protected, but I will unlock it when the time comes. Until then, I apologize for the inconvenience of trying to read it.
IF WATER IS EVERYWHERE…
Why is there not a drop to drink? Why is there such a shortage of safe drinking water in the world right now? And most importantly, why does nobody seem to be doing anything about it?
Two companies are attempting to answer at least one of those questions. Last week, Cola Soda Inc and the World Wildlife Federation announced that they were working together on the newly-launched 100% Water Neutrality Campaign that aims to promote better water and energy usage, management and conservation. Through this campaign, both organizations have pledged to, among other things, conserve 7 of the world’s top watersheds, ensure a safe supply of drinking water, and fight the chronic water shortage that has been forecasted to happen by the year 2025.
This collaboration, as timely as it is, might seem to be in and of itself an oxymoron. While there is no denying either company’s worldly intentions to salvage what the fires of industry have ravaged of the earth, cynics will snipe that it’s too little, too late, and that any realization of how much environmental peril the world is in should have dawned on us decades ago.
Nevertheless, Cola Soda and the WWF’s initiatives are admirable. Both companies have the resources, experience, influence and knowhow to jumpstart a movement of such scale. One is a leading multinational beverage manufacturer with a legacy that has spanned a century and cast a web over 200 countries around the globe. The other, although only half as old, is the most well-known conservation organization in the world and has a network of nearly 5 million members worldwide. A 5-year, $20-million partnership between the two, one might think, would surely bring about some positive action and results that the rest of the world has only ever sniped about but never actually dirtied its hands with.
That is not to say that the task they have at hand will not be met with vast obstacles and controversy. Cola Soda plans to recruit all 200 of its independently-owned bottlers for the campaign, and convince them to improve their business operations and processes. But, as old habits die hard, so will old, long-ingrained and possibly more convenient, practices, and it might actually take more persuasive skills than time to implement these new, healthier practices. On the corporate front, Cola Soda itself has been facing a considerable amount of backlash for its environmental footprint, and the company will have a lot on its plate trying to prove to the critics, and the world, its intentions to give back in equal part what its business has taken from Mother Nature.
Will this campaign and its initiatives be implemented fast enough? Probably not. Will it make the rest of the world pay attention and realize that two companies trying to save the world (or at least its water supply) will not be enough? Hopefully. Whatever the outcome, it is safe to assume that Cola Soda and the World Wildlife Federation, by way of the 100% Water Neutrality Campaign, are just trying to tell the world what it already knows but cannot face, “It’s time to wake up.”
Will we listen?