WHAT I SAW ON MY FAREWELL AMERICA BIKE TOUR, AN ENVIRONMENTAL VIEW. MILLENNIAL’S (Y)OUR SAVIORS?

I have so many thoughts about what I saw while biking through Oregon and California. Since high school the environment has always been a major concern (religion) to me.  I was proudly recycling bottles & cans back in 1972.  Back then my Dad told me it was cheaper and easier to just throw them away, as he was throwing a beer bottle into the garbage.  46 years later lots of America’s still have that attitude.  The worlds resources are just for them to use once and toss into the garbage.

To start, both Oregon & California are suppose to be the U.S. states leaders regarding environmental issues.  I thought campers were even a more select slice of Americana that was environmentally concerned.  How wrong I was.  The recycling effort at the campgrounds was next to nothing.  I always saw paper, cans, glass bottles and plastic bottles inside the garbage dumpsters.  Yet, the recycling containers were right next to the dumpsters. Then there’s the gas guzzling GIGANTIC campers, that were also towing another vehicle., camping?  When I was in San Diego, there was either 8 or 9? lanes of traffic going in one direction and still congested.

When I met some 20-30 year old.’s at the campgrounds, I always talked about Climate Change.  I said the U.S.’s inaction on Climate Change is a generational war and they are the losers.  They said they never heard anyone my age, showing any concern for their future.  The chant of “America First” dissected is, “Me First and Fuck You.”  America should be so ashamed of itself.

This is the hardest part to write.  I thought my friends, that I took the time to visit, had environmentally leaning lifestyles.   I was a little shocked and embarrassed by what I saw and heard.  Americans think their money allows them to live in a bubble that is unaffected by the environment.  How wrong they are, their inaction (dialing down) their lifestyles has alienated people around the world who are being negatively affected by Climate Change.
Here’s a few examples of what I saw at friends houses:

*One friend said he took cans and bottles to the recycling center and they asked him to separate them.  He said it wasn’t worth his time and just started throwing away the cans, bottles along with his organic waste into the garbage can.   At least his organic waste could be used in his garden, but no.

*San Diego is in the desert, you wouldn’t know it with all the lawns and landscaping.  2 rivers that fed the Salton Sea are now being diverted to San Diego.  Half the birds of North America stop at the Salton Sea.  The Salton Sea is going to dry up and on the bottom are pesticides and DDT, a windy day will be deadly.  I asked my friend about conserving water.  He said if he conserves water that will encourage more housing developments & more people moving to San Diego. So the water was just running, it was killing me.

*My brother lives in the desert of Phoenix AZ  He wouldn’t let the family use the dishwasher because he thought it wasted water. Actually a loaded dishwasher uses less water, than washing one dish at a time.  That aside, he keeps his lawn green, a huge waste of water.  I watched him set up the hose and leave it running trying to green up a dry section.  He hadn’t rained in Phoenix in 5 months, yet he had a lush green lawn.

* Portland’s former mayor Sam Adams, best accomplishment according to me was offering weekly food waste & yard debris pickup.  Food waste dumped in a landfill creates methane, which is roughly 30 times more harmful greenhouse gas than C02.  I stayed at a friends house and she stated “I only compost coffee grounds”.  She said it was too bothersome.  The garbage can and coffee compost bin were less than a meter apart.  I was shocked, but I was a guest and said nothing.  Hopefully she reads this and changes her ways, not just for her, but her son’s future.
After reading this, I called my garbage company at the apartments and started food waste recycling, we’re all responsible for preventing Climate Change.

*I was talking to a friend (who has kids), about Climate Change.  He stated “What about China?”.  I looked around his house at all the Chinese made TV’s.  America is the largest importer of Chinese goods.  That makes America  partially responsible for China’s Carbon Footprint.  America’s self-entitled & borrowed lifestyle still pollutes 2.5 times per person than China does.  Personally I would be more worried about my kids future than China’s carbon footprint.

A supposed world leader needs to lead by example, but it’s not. Trump wants to withdraw from the Paris Climate agreement, that could set world back preventing or slowing Climate Change, we don’t have time to waste.   Now Trump is undoing clean air, clean water, conservation policies, gas mileage standards and more. America will now be known as the leader in environmental destruction.  America should be so ashamed of itself, but I guess, jobs and money at any price are worth it, no matter what it costs or who it hurts.

I’ve been in the EU for the past 5 years and I LOVE IT!  I like some parts of Capitalism, but  I also like a government that gives people access to health care and education. Slovenians sometimes complain about this or that, like wanting to earn more money.  After I compare their lives with what American’s face daily, they get it.  I’ve been in both countries long enough to know of what I’ve seen.  Trump’s America throws billions of dollars of borrowed money at the military, wanna fix American infrastructure?  Americans will be digging into their pockets.  Health Care here is unaffordably broken, I pay $630 a month and must pay $7,000 for any & all care, before I can get any benefit or help.  My doctor friend pays $1,000 month and she’s a doctor!   I can’t wait to get back to the EU and Slovenia where people come first.

I don’t want to bad mouth America too much,  it’s given me opportunities I wouldn’t have had in other places around the world.  The Climate Change issue is too big an issue, to leave to politicians and business to solve, they’ve had 20 years.  It’s time for the people to stand up for future generations.  What’s going on, is so unfair.

Millennials maybe our only hope for their future.  Bernie Sanders biggest supporters were the millenials, a good sign.  They didn’t want Brexit, they want a more socialistic-democratic government.  Millenials by the numbers is Here.

That’s the bad first and the next blog is about the good times I had in America.

thanks for reading.
Jeff

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One thought on “WHAT I SAW ON MY FAREWELL AMERICA BIKE TOUR, AN ENVIRONMENTAL VIEW. MILLENNIAL’S (Y)OUR SAVIORS?

  1. Jill

    Right on, Jeff. Our laziness has now cost us our plastics recycling and people still don’t get it. I can’t believe the recycling bins I see on my street. Full of nonrecyclables or things so dirty they will mess up the recycling. Apparently reading the sticker on the top of the bin and putting it out once a week is more responsibility than Americans can handle.

    Reply

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