Coca-Cola created their iconic “Hilltop,” ad in 1971, and in 2015, it was given a cultural shot in the arm when it was featured on the series finale of Mad Men. But in the 44 years since the original ad aired, sugary beverages have home from being a sometimes treat to being the #1 SOURCE OF CALORIES in the American diet. Think about that.
This film for the Center for Science in the Public Interest was created to spread that truth and #changethetune
In 2009, in the midst of the Great Recession, the company I was working for announced a plan for implementing pay cuts across the entire staff as a way to stem the layoffs they’d been forced to make. The plan was genuinely well-conceived, but it would definitely require some belt-cinching.
It was spring, and I’d just finished the Boston Marathon, so I was feeling some good fitness momentum. And as it so happened, one of our two car leases was about to expire. I texted my wife, just after the company announcement, and told her I didn’t want to get another car. I wanted to get a bike and ride it until the Boston weather prevented it.
And so I rode all spring and summer, 11.1 miles each way from my home in Lexington, Massachusetts into Boston’s Back Bay. And I completely fell in love with it. Fresh air. Great exercise. No sitting in traffic. No fossil fuel emissions. Not to mention no car payment, gas costs, parking fees, insurance – there are countless reasons to commute by bicycle, and I loved them all.
Then one day in October, while riding in, I met another rider named Bill. Bill pulled up alongside me and asked if I knew how to get to Longwood Medical Center. I noticed he had a cast on his left arm, and he told me he was headed to get it removed. Ironically, he’d broken it when his bike hit a pothole. I told him he could follow me to Harvard Square, and I could show him the way from there.
So we rode for several more miles. He had an old Fuji single-speed, and he was a really strong rider. He was also chatty, and forced me to keep up with his conversation while hammering all the way. Turns out we had a weird amount in common. He was in marketing, I was in advertising. He lived for years in Mill Valley, California, the town from which my family and I had most recently moved. He also worked for the Coors company during a short period when my agency had them as a client. And while working for them, had lived in Boulder, which is the town to which my former agency, CP+B, had re-located.
Then at some point he asked if I’d ever ridden all through the winter. I told him I’d just started riding, and he proceeded to tell me how to go about doing it, should I choose to – what gear, what tires, what routes, etc.
I thought about it all day, and that evening, announced my intentions to my wife: I was going to gear up and take on the winter with two wheels. It would be an adventure! Like training for the Marathon had been. Maybe I’d blog about it!
The following morning, in the middle of October, it snowed. It was as if nature was reminding me what I’d signed on for. Undeterred, I set out, and I haven’t stopped yet. Six years later, we’re still a suburban family with only one car – a statistical oddity to be certain. And if can be avoided, I’ll never own a second car again.
Granted, I’ve worked primarily from home since January of 2014, but since ‘09, I reckon I’ve ridden well over 40,000 miles just commuting alone. My bicycle is still how I get almost everywhere I need to go. I have some clients who’ve never even seen me without bike tights on!
My ride always offers something new. Twice a day, every day, It gives me some funny, interesting, or death-defying story to share, but what I don’t share about it is what I love most. Twice a day, every day, my ride is all mine.
The rental crisis in this country isn’t something we hear our elected officials discuss very often. Rental housing, after all, isn’t part of the “American Dream” the way homeownership has always been. But in the wake of the Great Recession, more families have been forced into the rental market than ever before, pushing rents higher, while wages stagnate, and that dream of homeownership recedes farther and farther into the distance.
Today, in the United States, about 11 million families pay more than 50% of their income on rental housing, forcing them to make difficult tradeoffs for every other expenditure. These families pay on average 39 percent less on food and 65 percent less on healthcare than families who live in affordable housing.
The rental crisis is a crisis of this nation’s shrinking middle class, and our growing class of working poor. As a country, it’s crucial for us to learn more about it, and what we can do about it. MakeRoomUSA.org is working to make that happen.
I was fortunate enough to help friends at Matter Unlimited, New York develop the idea for this campaign for Make Room, and I’m deeply proud to watch as they’re bringing it to life.
The idea was inspired by rent parties thrown by friends in college. Each month, Make Room will introduce us to one of these real families struggling to make ends meet in the face of rising rents. And each month, a musical artist will come perform for these families, and an intimate group of their invited guests, in their rented homes. Carly Rae Jepsen and Grammy winner, Timothy Bloom were the first two with more to come each month. It’s a rent party with a reason.
#ConcertsForThe1st, presented by Make Room. Please visit MakeRoomUSA.org today. And let’s bring opportunity home.