Hey everyone, I’m back home! Technically, I’m still on vacation and will soon be off again in rural Oregon, a.k.a. the Land of No Internet (it’s a scary place). But during this week I’ll be here on my trusty computer, visiting my fellow bloggers to see what they’ve been up to and going back through all my posts to read everyone’s comments. I apologize if some of the entries were getting shorter recently, but hey, it’s not easy to keep up the pace when you’re on the move every few days, hopping from one country to the next without a laptop or WiFi zone in sight.
Now, before writing about today’s change, I thought I’d share a photo of Yours Truly, recycling some plastic water bottles in West Jerusalem last week. It was taken by my friend Jacob, who’s currently living in Ramallah and who tried to explain the challenges of being green in this part of the world. Basically, as you might guess, people in the West Bank have bigger problems right now than separating their paper from their plastic, so the only option for environmentally minded folks like him is to cross the wall and take everything to one of these nondescript wire cages, most of which are just sitting on random residential streets with no signs or directions.
It’s an effort most people here aren’t willing to make, and it’s a shame because it not only leads to more garbage in landfills but more garbage on the streets. Of course, I hardly expect anyone in the Middle East to switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs and start composting, but I do find it a bit ironic that so many people are willing to kill for this land, yet have no qualms about littering on it.
You may notice that, in the photo above, I’m recycling a plastic water bottle. Here’s a big confession: I broke my rule about only drinking tap water. With all apologies to Mother Earth, I just didn’t want to take a chance when travelling; there’s nothing worse than being sick on a trans-Atlantic flight or getting major stomach cramps in 40-degree heat. I did bring my reusable water bottle with me for the trip and it came in handy for the day trips in Europe, but there were times when it ran empty and I had to cave in to the plastic.
Some other green things I noticed on vacation were the biofuel buses in Madrid (here’s a photo of one):
And I also saw a lot more animals out in the fields (a herd of Spanish cows are in the photo below). Everywhere I went in the UK and Spain, I would see sprawling pastures filled with contented pigs in their pens, outdoor chicken coops, sheep roaming about and cows eating a proper diet of grass. The hotel I stayed at in the Cotswolds had its own fruit and vegetable garden out back, and even the McDonalds and Burger King in London had nutritional pamphlets detailing which farms their meat came from, stressing that all their ingredients were traceable and free of hormones and additives. Until now, I always assumed that North America was leading the green trend, but it seems that in some respects — especially when it comes to food and agriculture — we could learn a lot from the Europeans.
Anyway, it’s time to make my official green change of the day, but I’ll write another vacation update in a couple weeks. Thanks for putting up with my scattered ramblings!