Sustainability, America, and my Newfound Attitude towards Learning.

So, as much as I love school, I’m always shocked towards the end of the semester. I mean, everything was going so well, and then out of no where you tell me you want PAPERS, PRESENTATIONS, EXAMS???

I get a little like this.

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But over the Christmas week, I’ve realized I’ve retained quite a bit more than even I anticipated. I had a sort of, “life exam”, on one of the subjects Kingston has insisted on continuously shoving down my throat, against my will,

SUSTAINABILITY.

People in America are not really too concerned about going green.

I mean, some of us try…

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But not too efficiently.

So generally, as long as were not driving along in a Hummer, drinking a gallon of bottled water, smoking a cigar, and firing an Magnum, while driving through our oil reserve on the way to our processed chicken factory, we’ve done our part.

We have our limits.

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You see? We care.

But now that I’ve come back I’ve noticed quite a few efforts in regards to Sustainability.

Well, by efforts, I mean signs.

I saw this when I got to the airport.

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So at least one Terminal in New York is green. It’s a step in the “right” direction. And I say “right” because I don’t believe America will ever compare to the UK in the war for Eco-friendly products and Sustainability, where people seem to be more like this,

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It’s a little ridiculous.

Anyway, this comparison of US to UK ideas on Sustainability relates to my “life exam” in the following way,

On Christmas Eve I was having drinks and desserts with some family and friends, and the topic of weather came up. You see, New York and the tri-state area have never (in the lifespans of most of the people in the area) been so drastic and so chaotic before. We had a blizzard in October and a Spring during Winter, we had destructive Hurricane Sandy, and a beautiful Spring day on Christmas (it’s currently the day after Christmas and it’s snowed a foot in less than three hours and it’s raining ice as I type this) so, the weather is pretty crazy.

The people I was having dessert with were Argentinian, they said it was currently 120 degrees F in Buenos Aires, which is about 48 degrees C.

Seriously.

And my boss is Egyptian, where he said it has snowed all last winter.

In Egypt.

So this conversation about the weather led to a conversation about recycling which led to a conversation about global warming which led to a conversation about Sustainability.

Now, this is one of those times in life where you realize how little you knew by how much you now know.

But don’t get me wrong, I spend the majority of the Sustainability lectures in a daze and when people refer to recycling and being “Eco-Friendly” I’m usually fantasizing about coffee in a styrofoam cup (FACT: EVERYTHING tastes better in a styrofoam cup) but despite all my efforts, things have begun to sink in.

Like how very few people know about the different grades of plastic. So many people are attempting to recycle un-recyclable plastics, and by doing so, making recycling companies, who are not going to pay thousands of people to remove un-recyclable plastics from every bag they receive, just trash all the plastics entirely.

Or how little we hear about the various states of abnormal weather patterns throughout the world, unless it happens to be a gigantic storm that kills a vast number of people, it really isn’t worth air-time.

Without our relations to people outside our own sector of the country, we would probably never hear about these strange weather patterns.

So until it’s February and 95 F in Jersey, 25 F in Florida, raining in Arizona and a heat-wave in Seattle, it’s going to take quite a while for people to start to care.

And mind you, we only care about weather changes in our own states, if theres a heat-wave in Finland and a blizzard in Sicily,

Sorry, but thats not our problem.

And if it wasn’t for my time in London, where every toilet wants to tell you about how it’s using recycled rain water, and the napkins suspensors try to make you feel guilty for removing more than one sheet, I would’t be giving any thought to making any efforts to sustain our planet.

But… and heres the kicker….

I LECTURED ABOUT SUSTAINABLE RESOURCES TO THESE PEOPLE.

WITH ACTUAL FACTS!

Real facts, that I learned at Kingston.

Who would have thought?

I mean, I actually cared.

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Well, Ok.

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But, ITS BETTER THAN NOTHING!

I mean, I was shocked about how much I had retained, I have been unwillingly infected by the Eco-friendly mentality.

Perhaps this infection isn’t entirely negative, perhaps its like a small pox vaccination. A little small pox can be good for you, and once we infect everyone with a little small pox, less people will die.

Ok, that was a horrible metaphor, but you get the point.

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So, whether or not the topic is something that I’m all too excited for, like Sustainability, it’s still a fantastic feeling to come back home and be able to express myself in an educated manner about a topic that I really knew little about before my Master’s studies.

So you know what? I have a new attitude.

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