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from the desk of dan ashe

A Good Example is the Best Sermon

By Dan Ashe
min read

For many, our nation’s politics are difficult to watch: divided; angry; petulant; and so many other disturbing adjectives. 

But last week, national events reflected some of the positive social change that our community is leading.

Benjamin Franklin said, “A good example is the best sermon.” 

We saw a great example when the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs—George Kent—testified in the Presidential impeachment inquiry before the House Intelligence Committee.

Mr. Kent’s appearance and testimony before the Committee was certainly newsworthy, but so was his use of a blue Nalgene water bottle.  Many noted the stark contrast between Mr. Kent’s reusable water bottle and the single-use disposable bottles provided by the Committee.

Well, there you have it, Mr. Franklin.  A good example is, indeed, the best sermon.  And as the photo below also demonstrates, a picture is still worth a thousand words.Image of Kent and water bottle

Of course, it didn’t take Nalgene long to capitalize and get free publicity, or for talking heads to pounce.  Search “George Kent water bottle” and watch what comes up. One news commentator joked about the size of Kent’s bottle, noting that “Fish are not this hydrated.” 

Unless maybe the fish is a delta smelt and has to compete with California’s cities and farmers for hydration.

Whether he intended to make a statement about sustainability or single-use plastic, or he just likes to carry his own water, this career public servant set an example that is the best sermon of all.

Our community is embracing eliminating the use of single-use plastics: discontinuing the use of plastic straws and bags, offering reusable bottles for sale in our gift stores, and making refilling stations available at drinking fountains.  Bravo!

And bravo George Kent!  Maybe we should name the act in his honor, as in, “I brought my Kent” or “Can’t believe you aren’t using a Kent.

Next time I testify before Congress or visit an AZA-accredited facility, I am carrying along my Kent.



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