Sarah Becker is a student at Messiah College, and is an ISA Featured Blogger. She studied abroad with ISA in Granada, Spain.
Four months into my stay in Granada, and I’ve made it to Germany, Morocco, Italy and England as well as traveling around Spain itself. I’ve learned about new cultures, experienced life across the pond, and experienced energy-efficiency; European style. Along the way I’ve picked up a few green habits that I’ll definitely be taking home with me and implementing back in the United States. Without further ado, they are as follows;
#1. Taking a More Minimalist Approach to Stuff
One of the pros of being forced to fit all of your stuff in a single bag that meets airport weight restrictions, is that you begin to understand which items are truly necessary and which are superfluous. A trip to Germany spent carrying backpack full of things I never used didn’t just give me a really sore back – it also taught me that an excess of stuff can make it really difficult to enjoy the experience of traveling. Upon further reflection, I feel quite strongly that this is a principle that can and should be extended to life. When I get back to the States I want to continue focusing my time, money, and energy on people and experiences rather than accumulating unnecessary items. It’s good for me, and it’s a green habit that’s good for the environment as well.
#2. Cutting Plastic Usage
This is a habit that I’ll definitely be taking back to the States. My host mom keeps a bottle of water in the fridge. It’s an essential part of every meal, and more energy efficient than running an ice-maker. I also carry a water bottle with me everywhere because buying water is expensive and there are a number of purified fountains scattered around Granada which makes refilling easy. There is also a plastic bag tax here, which has made my reusable shopping bag an absolute necessity. It’s an easy way to avoid using a ridiculous number of plastic bags, and won’t be any hassle whatsoever to implement in the US.
This one is a bit of a catch 22 . . . I would love to implement this green habit back home, but one of the reasons Europeans walk is because they can. (They also have tiny lil’ medieval-era windy roads which makes exploring a pleasure.) The public transportation system here in Spain is absolutely fantastic and it is very possible to exist without a personal car. Unfortunately, this is not a habit that transfers very well to most of the United States, as our transportation system is such that it is very difficult to function without access to a car. I would be more than happy to continue my walking habits when I’m back home, but I can’t. Time to step it up America!
And, for the sake of time and space purposes, that’s a wrap. There are more green habits, of course, but these are the major three that have greatly impacted my daily life in Spain. I’m looking forward to taking these habits back to the US and creatively implementing them in my day to day living.
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