Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Keurig in a Coal Mine

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Last night I had a dream that the U.S. launched a drone strike on the Miss World Pageant. I know it is an odd dream, but private organizations seem to be in the crosshairs of governments and other organizations--and in my dreams. From Wikileaks to Facebook, organizations face greater scrutiny due to their role in society.

One group, Keurig Green Mountain, came under attack recently and folks across the country are destroying their coffee machines due to an advertising decision. I don’t want to comment on the politics of the situation, but instead would like to focus on the fact that the destruction of the machines may be good for the environment. According to this article in the New York Times, the number of pods used in the machine each year would circle the earth 10 times. There are certainly green options available for the Keurig, but most people do not use them because they are slightly more expensive. Thus, I hope that everyone who broke his or her machine returns to a more environmentally friendly French press, percolator, or drip.

At the same moment, the coal industry is representing the U.S. at the United Nation’s Bonn Climate Summit this week. The Guardian reports that Michael Bloomberg called coal’s presence as like “promoting tobacco at a cancer summit.” I have written quite a bit in this space that coal is yesterday’s energy source. It isn’t going entirely away, but energy technology has moved on to more efficient and cheaper energy sources. The federal government’s support of coal is particularly tragic for the coal states where miners hope for a renaissance that is unlikely to arrive. The region should be finding new forms of economic development.

Private organizations have always had a prominent place in American society. However, many are questioning their current role in influencing government. Perhaps we are at a Keurig in a coal mine moment when we begin to deemphasize what is good for organizations but instead focus on what is good for Americans. 

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