THE CLIMATE CHANGE ISSUE IS HOT, and with so many great documentaries coming out from US recently, and with the high educational level that the Americans have, I was pretty surprised that most of the people here are not environmental friendly at all.
You would think that New Yorkers, being so well educated and often bombarded with the environmental topics from the media that they would be more conscious about the environment. While I am here, I can only come up with the conclusion that the US, or at least New York, is the least environmental conscious place I have ever been to in my entire life! (Sorry but I do think that quite a number of third world countries pollute less than the States).
The biggest issue I have here is that there is no recycling done at all. You may argue that you use recycled paper and stuff, but walk around New York and you will notice that they do not separate their recyclables. Even at my homestays, it is such a nuisance because we are used to separate the recyclables according to what they are made of, but here, it does not matter at all because no one cares and they told me that if you need to get something recycled, you’ll have to call someone and pay them to get your items.
In the cafeteria, everyone get their salads in plastic boxes, pizzas on paper dishes, soda in plastic bottles, plastic spoon and fork and loads of paper napkin in a paper box tray to carry away. And when the meal is finished, everything just goes into the trashcan. It is easy as that, no separating needed… Imagine the trash produced every day. In Taiwan, we have to separate food (for example vegetable leftovers, meats, bones etc) so that they can be used as fertilizer and not being piled up as useless garbage. Almost everything can be recycled in Taiwan, and you can find separate bins for them everywhere. What we are working on now is to ask people to reuse stuff whenever they can and not to use disposables. Even then, we still think that there are so many issues that we need to improve in Taiwan.
But here in the States, I am sad to say that they have not started the first step yet, which is to simply separate their recyclables. The only other time that I had trouble finding a place for my recyclable items was when we were in the rural areas of Guizhou, Mainland China where kids do not even have money to eat, let alone go to school. So, I was terribly shocked that this is the same case in rich old USA.
I am sure that a lot of Americans are environmental conscious and thus are doing something to protect our Earth. But, if what I see here in New York and in Boston (and also in California according to my buddy, Yaohua), something disastrous will happen soon if the authorities do not act quickly and efficiently in educating the people and to work on waste reduction and energy saving. I hope that tragic day will not come at all, but dear Americans, for you and for everyone else, PLEASE do something soon, or else Mother Nature will have to show you her ways.