Friday, March 27

California Dreamin'?

I recently spent some time in California - a welcome return there after nearly 10 years' absence. We all have all these ideas of Californians...generally 'doin' the right thing' in terms of eating, exercise, GMOs, heck - even plastic surgery...but, in reality, it's a far different place than what the Kardashians would have you believe.
But what came as most shocking to me was the utter disregard for our natural resources and recycling. As someone who scrapes the coffee grounds out into a special bin rather than toss them down the drain or in the garbage, like most Europeans, I couldn't believe my eyes.
We've all gotten so used here in Europe to garbage bins calling for your plastic or aluminum or paper goods, that even though no one particularly follows those orders, we at least give it the old college try. In California, our picnic turned into one big garbage bag, tossed into the bin. Papers, bottles (galore...after all, they're Californians with their omnipresent water bottles not far behind), cans.  I was stunned.  I wondered if somewhere along the garbage line they didn't get separated and recycled elsewhere, but I doubt it. Food waste was in epic proportions.*  Kids' half-eaten bowls of cereals tossed carelessly out, along with the last four pieces of bread in the package, just because they 'look funny'. In restaurants, people left entire meals on their plates. So why don't they just serve them less?

Watching Californians' water consumption was a sight to behold, and I don't mean just with the goldfish bowls and aquariums everywhere. This is a state that just stated they have about one year left of water. I believe it. I witnessed people with all the behaviours above, and then some. Water running for 30 whole secs (just count 30 and see what I mean) just to rinse an apple or even just a tupperware lid; kids with 30 min daily - and sometimes twice-daily before & after sports) showering routines; people watering their lawns -- even just after a rare rainfall. A friend just posted on fb how her son insists on showering before soccer - isn't it cute? I tried to remind her they were in the midst of a draught - she said she compensated. Because saying No is *that* difficult? So much for the good of the community.
Certainly, I am always horrified to return to Rome to see the water from our nasoni fountains just pouring out onto the streets. I wonder if somehow it could be bottled and shipped to California.  Because they have a lot of fine, white teeth that will need brushing in the future. Just ask the Kardashians.

And for more on Food Waste and what we all can do about it...a good place to start is Tristram Stuart's TEDTalk and the website: