Europe: Sustainability as Second Nature

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Today we attended a lecture at the University of Basel’s Sustainability Department on research topics dealing with unifying sustainability, the use of energy, and the invasive gobies in the Rhine River. One of the lecturers discussed the ways in which the integration of sustainability is used as as a guiding principle in the cantonal administration in Basel (cantons are like counties or regions). This made me think of how much more sustainability in Europe is second nature. When comparing European practice to the United States, Americans have to practically be pushed to develop sustainable lifestyle habits. Another lecturer made an interesting remark stating that if a new sustainable idea is created and then implemented it’s a no brainer that people will do or use it. But this is not true in America, ideas are created and Americans have a very difficult time changing their routine. It seems as though Europeans have a much easier time adapting to change. I’m not sure if it’s Americans or Europeans that are strange about adjusting to change.

After visiting the University, we took the train from Basel to Lugano and finally arrived in Riva San Vitale! The ride through the Swiss Alps was incredible, and the views were jaw dropping. Everyone had their phones pressed against the windows snapping pictures of the mountains, lake, and colorful small houses staked on the vibrant green terraces. I can’t believe that we get to spend three weeks in such a beautiful, small town located next to a lake with 360 degree views.

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