The Red White and… Green?

In the days of the bobble that we now live in, I will admit something very shameful- I used to be a plastic water bottle girl. Tragic, I know.

Anyway, (sorry, poor segue) Europe, among its eight zillion differences from the good ol US of A, loves the environment. Unlike in America, where we spend more time debating if global warming is real and talking about what a dbag Al Gore is, in Europe, they actually do this thing called recycling. And they don’t do it because a faux president made a video or because gas prices are obscenely high, but they do it just because they do it.

For example: In Italy, you have a limit of how much electricity you can use per household, and if you go over it, you don’t get some bullshit fee that you could probably argue your way out of at the end of the month but instead they simply shut off your electricity. In my apartment, this happens literally at least once a day. The washing machine and the oven can’t even be on at the same time and if someone is straightening their hair, just forget it. I have been trapped in the kitchen more than once in the dark, haunted by past American Horror Story episodes.

When throwing away garbage in Italy, you don’t have the opportunity to choose what is recycled and what isn’t. If you’re lucky enough to live in a place where a garbage man picks up your trash, you better sort it yourself into one of four categories or else the police will actually come looking for you. True story.

Also, since every grocery store is the size of my living room and you can only buy as much as you can carry on your back, huge cases of water are simply out of the question unless you could 1. find a pack of water and 2. be devoted enough to make two grocery store trips. Instead, most people invest in a cheap reusable water bottle, which is more cost-effective, green, and also colorful. Plus, you can refill it in the bathroom sink instead of pulling one out of your fridge. Who knew?

It’s always funny to me when people say “global warming doesn’t exist” or what we do the environment simply doesn’t matter. There are approximately 7 billion people in the world, overcrowding this world, and you think they have no effect on this planet? Really? The debate on if global warming exists is insignificant. The fact that one day, the trees that you’ll be saving are the ones in your yard is what should really matter. You don’t care about the environment for yourself? That’s fine. But when your grandkids have to go to a museum to see a tree and they’re pining away for the Lorax, you’ll be wishing you had the decency to put those papers in the blue bin instead of the green.

In Europe, recycling isn’t a choice or a nice thing to do. It’s simply what you do, as natural as brushing your teeth. Don’t get me wrong, I love America with all my heart, and I’m no hater. Red white and blue all the way. But we could learn a few things from our friends across the pond.

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