“Ah-Ha” Moment of Truth

You might wonder why the recent focus on cigarettes. I will say that subject is not the overall intent of this blog.

The topic is important to me. I won’t be spending copious amounts of time on the subject, but I do want to share my ah-ha moment that shifted my focus from being a part of the litter problem to being part of the solution. Oddly enough, even though I went to college in North Carolina where tobacco was super cheap. At that time it seems that North Carolina had no state or local taxes on cigarettes, so the cost for a pack, containing 20 doses of nicotine, was about a quarter dollar.

In 1969 I moved to Los Angeles, that’s where I started smoking. I did not realize at the time how addictive they were, nor did I understand how harmful they were either. Shortly I got up to smoking about a pack a day. The tobacco industry, I am told, designed the packs to be a day’s supply of product for the typical smoker. Walking down the sidewalk one day, as I was about to flick yet another cigarette butt, I flashed back to my dad, and how he had my siblings and I clean up the campground areas around which we had pitched our tent, of all the debris that was not part of the natural landscape. In that Los Angeles sidewalk moment, I realized that I was really a litterbug. I took the cigarette butt, stomped it out on the sidewalk then picked it up and placed in my cigarette pack between the cellophane wrapper and the “hard pack” for later disposing of properly.

From that point on I consciously stopped littering. That was 1971.

That year was also noted for the public service announcements that started to air on earth day, promoted by the Ad Council and Keep America Beautiful    a new anti-litter campaign. The ad has become a classic, known as “the Crying Indian”. The actor playing the role of the American Indian is a Sicilian-American. The ad can be found online at: http://www.adcouncil.org/Our-Campaigns/The-Classics/Pollution-Keep-America-Beautiful-Iron-Eyes-Cody. What kind of ad would you imagine we could produce today that would affect today’s generations as deeply as that ad?

Contemplate that visual for social media and beyond.