If you were looking for one word to describe Ducks Unlimited Canada’s approach to conservation you wouldn’t go far afield by picking the word, pragmatic. We’re looking for solutions that help everything, and everybody. How can we tackle projects that increase and make cleaner and safer the habit of important and endangered species? How can we improve the health and happiness of urban communities? How can we work with governments and corporations so their core values and missions are addressed by particpating with us on projects that resonsate with our own values and purpose? We ask those questions every day. And the answer sometimes comes in the shape of a bottle. A Coke bottle in the case of this episode. I had the chance to speak with a fascinating hydrogeologist named John Radtke. John leads the water sustainability programs for Coca-Cola North America. He’s also an avid fly fisherman and backpacker. He’s lived in the outdoors since tramping around Southern Illonois as a kid. But, in 2005, after going through college as a geologist John became a consulting geologist. One of his clients, Coca-Cola brought John on board fulltime. Coke is a multinational company that used billions of litres of water to make it dizzying array of beverages. Coke hired John on at a troubled time for the company. Its water use in parts of India turned into a public relations disaster for the company .
But, it was also a sobering wake up call for the company. It learned important lessions about its responsibilty for managing, stewarding a replacing the water it uses.
With John’s help, Coke weathered those troubled waters. Now, via the Coca Cola Foundation, it works worldwide with groups like Ducks Unlimited Canada to balance the water it uses with the water it replenishes. How? You’ll find out soon, but I began the interview with that watershed moment for Coke, and John, in India.