Is it a coincidence that the doomsday scenario of the U.S. economy falling off the “fiscal cliff” is happening at the same time the Mayan calendar predicts the end of the world?

In a word, yes. It’s just a coincidence. At Sip & Savor, we are certain the earth will continue to orbit around the sun well after December 31. And if you don’t want to take our word for it, NASA has gone to the trouble of answering your most urgent questions and theories about the Mayan calendar and impending doom.

The long and short of it, according NASA, is that world will not end this year, there will be no “total blackout,” the planets will not align, and the rotation of the earth most certainly will not reverse.

So much for that internet hoax. If only we could say, with the same level of certainty, that Congress and the White House will reach an agreement on taxes and spending by December 31 and avoid the so-called fiscal cliff scenario.

A year ago, more than 8 in 10 voters told Gallup they wanted the White House and Republicans to work together on passing legislation. And today, a new poll finds that 49 percent of voters do not think the two will work together to avoid automatic spending cuts and tax increases.

The level of concern is high throughout America about the consequences of a stalemate. Eighty-four (84%) percent say inaction will have an effect on the economy. Sixty percent (60%) of those voters say the effect will be negative.

Major policy issues require engagement from both sides. In the national fight against obesity, the beverage industry has worked closely with many partners. We worked with President Bill Clinton voluntarily to enact the School Beverage Guidelines, which reduced the shipment of full-calories soft drinks to schools by 97 percent.

The beverage association is engaged in a pilot project called “Calories Count” with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and San Antonio Mayor Julian Chavez to provide more choices for low- and no-calorie beverages in vending machines on municipal property.

In support of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign, the beverage industry voluntarily put calorie labels on the front of bottles, cans and packs of soft drinks to make it easier for consumers to see the calorie count before they choose what to drink.

Calories from added sugar in soda are down a whopping 39 percent since 2000, according to the CDC. We’re proud to help consumers be more aware of calories and help parents control the amount of beverage calories their children consume at school. Education and awareness are at the heart of America’s obesity problem.

The beverage industry working together with non-profit organizations and local government is key to helping people understand how to balance calories.

Obesity is a complex issue, but we can avoid the doomsday scenario by working together – not against each other.