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Marin County's Quest For A Soda-Free Summer

The crunchy California county is trying to keep kids off soda, but with nothing so harsh as a ban. Instead, they’re going for a more gentle approach.

New York City has made headlines recently for its planned ban on big sodas, but Mayor Bloomberg is not alone in his crusade against fizzy drinks. Marin County, California—home of wealthy, outdoorsy hippies—announced this month the return of its annual Soda-Free Summer campaign, which implores the locals to replace sugary beverages with less exciting alternatives like water and milk.

Marin isn’t seeking a legal ban on soda, but it has put up a cheerful website with tip sheets, activity packets for kids (including the Sugar Savvy Maze, where sugary drinks are dead ends), and materials featuring Potter the Otter, a cartoon otter that teaches the benefits of drinking water.

In all seriousness, Marin does lay out some compelling reasons to slow down on soda consumption (and if you need any more, check out this disturbing infographic). But convincing kids to quit soda? That will take more than a friendly cartoon otter and a pleasant website.

Soda Free Summer’s Facebook page seems to be on to something, linking to this story that compares meth mouth to a soda drinker’s mouth. If that doesn’t inspire soda lovers to put down the can, nothing will.