Thursday, September 17, 2009

Is this Still On?

Hello? Check one, check two. Anyone out there?


Well, my frequent absences from blogging probably mean that only one person is now reading this, but I have semi-successfully moved continents. I say semi-successfully, because really, all I've done since moving is 1) worked 2) slept 3) caught up on awesome American television 4) got a new mobile phone number.

I am sort of existing in a permanent state of exhaustion. I still have a hacking cough that I picked up in Bombay (pollution is my friend!). I am still jet-lagged. I still don't know where a good portion of my stuff is.

I'm also suffering from a little bit of culture shock. I know ... culture shock between London and New York City? But, yes. And sadly, New York is way less green than I would have imagined. The fair trade products that are all over London still haven't made their way across the pond. Where are the compost bins? Hell, where are the recycle bins?!

On the other hand, the subway is open 24 hours and the bars are open until 4am, and you can get any food you want delivered to you at 11pm. Plus, American chocolate chip cookies are so much more satisfying than digestive biscuits. But I do miss my jacket potatoes with beans and cheese.

Anyhow, more to follow as I recover from moving exhaustion and adjust to this new city.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Checking In

Hello all. I'm checking in from India (briefly.)

I've had a very nice trip, relaxed, ate good food, chatted with my relatives, saw some monkeys in a tree and a peacock on the street, etc.

I've also tried not to think about environmental matters too much. After all, I'm on VACATION. And after the stress of finishing off my dissertation, I need a little break.

But I can't help it.

See when I got to Bombay, I found that the city has introduced stringent water cuts. Which means that between 11pm and about 5 am almost all water is shut off. And if the city doesn't get more rain in the next couple months, the water cuts could get worse.

Meanwhile in Delhi, there are now more cars on the roads than in Bombay and Chennai combined! Thankfully, work is underway to expand the Delhi metro, but I'm not sure even the metro will do much to stymie the rise of automobiles.

India continues to change. A bus in Delhi proudly claims to be a bus from the largest CNG fleet in the world ... I actually think the buses in LA claim the same thing. There is more awareness about pollution, of environmental matters, of organics.

But at the same time people continue to buy cars. Traffic worsens. Old traditional ways of life are disappearing in favor of "modern" less sustainable methods.

India is a country on a precipice. They can choose: sustainable development or unsustainable. They can choose to make their vast population a problem, or they can choose to make it the most incredible asset by investing in said population.

They can choose to become an epicenter of technology by innovating and designing new clean technologies or they can continue with the same old carbon emitting technologies.

I don't know which way India will choose.

But I know what I hope for.