Another great post, V.12 n.35, from Barbara Hirsch, our favorite eco-nut:

Fresh back from my travels, and to my sweet home in Santa Barbara, my perspectives are enlivened.

In a few hours I was plucked from one modern society to another, from the streets of Athens to those of Vienna, and for me anyway, a metaphor for infrastructure was right there in the metro stations and on the city streets in – you guessed it – recycling containers! In Athens you either don’t find them, or they have so much trash in them you wonder what happens to it all, although we can guess. Their economy is such that trash is not a priority, too much else has to be for now.

In Vienna there is virtually no garbage evident, except in clearly marked containers everywhere for both trash and various materials for recycling. Theirs is a rich society that treasures organization and their infrastructure makes this apparent. Both cities are economically minded in their good public transit and tons of bikes, motor scooters and motorcycles. The U.S. is behind there, because our gas is way too cheap for its “external” costs. And our recycling is not normally up to Vienna’s either.

Without the destructive effects of war or natural disasters, a successful modern society has infrastructure in place for all that we need – clean water, fresh food, fuel and utilities, solid buildings, good roads and waste management, accessible and affordable. Infrastructure is invisible because the systems works with apparent ease in the background. We can get on with our lives and trust that it is there. In a democracy, checks and balances are in place to avoid corruption in these realms, which owing to their lack of visibility might be easier to occur, especially as the industries that acquire the resources have control within governments. 

What of those many in our global population who do not have access to these gifts of modern society?Here is a powerful piece on just that with regard to the Congo, one of the regions with the least infrastructure in the world. Hydroelectric power plants are being built there that are benefitting local conservation and thousands of lives. Warren Buffet went there to see gorrillas, and is now funding them (the power plants and the gorillas) to the tune of $39 million.  Go philanthropists!

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Barbara Hirsch, eco-nut

Santa Barbara, California


“Unless someone like you cares a whole lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss


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