Monday, September 7, 2009

Argentina Going Green?

I'm on twitter now, and I recently RT'd a person who posted a link that said How Green Is Your Country?

My response was: "Not too green but we're trying".

We are trying. There are several organizations and individuals such as Sustentator, Green Cross Argentina, Patagonia Expedition Race, etc. that are currently making huge efforts to help promote change in Environmental behavior in Argentina. However, the following points show the need to continue working, and the importance of addressing some serious issues:

1. The vast majority of people in Argentina have still no consciousness of what "green" really is. Some think it's about going to a park, or being out in the countryside riding horses, watching polo, having a mate or (a kind of tea made with herbs) which by the way is green in color. lol! Sounds fun, no? and trust me, it is. When we say "necesito verde" meaning "I need green", it's this that most people talk about, the countryside and all of that...
2. If you walk around the streets in Buenos Aires, you'll see that porters wash the sidewalks with huge buckets of water, throwing water all over the place instead of using a mop, which would in turn save water, not waste it. Oh, and the sidewalks would get clean all the same, right?
3. Sadly, many people in Buenos Aires (not to mention the provinces) still think that throwing a coke can out the window is ok. Yes, I did say a can. And every time I see this, I feel very disturbed. Last time I saw this, I was walking on the street with my friend, and I really wanted to go get the can. She prevented me from doing it, to stop me from getting run over by a bus. Yet, I felt a big need to go and get the can. Instead, I kept walking and looked back at the squashed can . Sigh..
4. There is no such thing as separating trash in different recipients. People just do not do this. Glass, paper, cans, plastic - you name it, it all goes into the same place, it's put out, and then it's picked up by trucks, who take the trash far away from the city of BA, and dump it - as it is - in an open space, very near lower- income areas where people live. WARNING: living close to mountains of unprocessed trash is hazardous to your health. Hard to swallow, no? it is... but the truth sometimes hurts.
5. Regardless of what's being said, there are only three green developments in all of Argentina. One of them is in Mar del Plata, a second one in the city of La Plata and a third one in Buenos Aires - For the past year, Curiocity Travel has been working very hard on a third development in Patagonia, Argentina (a Green Lodge). As it turns out, there is a lot of red tape and financial issues, but we are determined to make it happen.
6. Did I mention that people print like crazy here?
7. Plastic bags..
8. I don't want to go into buses and 70's cars polluting the air with fumes, and noise pollution, beyond words.
9. Mass Tourism does not help either. Perhaps people in the travel industry (that have the capabilities) could focus on affluent travelers whose premium spending on vacations support the social development and ecological conservation of the host communities.

Patagonia and other places away from the big cities, are a different story, and people here do care for the environment. In fact, Patagonia is considered one of the destinations with the World's Cleanest Air. Also, waters are perfectly clean... you can drink from the clear lakes, swim in the rivers... the air is fresh... people have energy-saving habits, and in places such as Villa la Angostura, they have strict laws regarding cutting trees, construction, etc.

If you have any comments regarding why else you consider we are not a Green Country, or what we can do to improve our friendliness and mercy towards our environment, please post your thoughts here! Thanks!


Cecilia said...

ok. I agree, there is no ¨green¨ concious in Argentina, it´s true people throw away cans in the street, pollution from old cars is bad, and not to mention the high usage of electricity given the fact that most home appliances are old and not energy efficient (I actually had this argument with my mother when i bought a new and big washer and dryer and she claim it was going to consume more energy, to which i respond, new appliances are energy efficient). I have lived in Austin, Texas for 10 years and I am back to Bs As and althought people don´t think about green i have two good things to say:
1. People recycle not out of being green but out of need. People constantly use grocery bags as trash bags, food containers as tapperware, most people don´t have sprinkler systems and most people don´t have the huge SUV that you see on WHole Foods parking lot (so green).
2. I wish Argentina will be as a society able to think about being green , but instead, we have poverty levels that are shameful, an education system that has deteriorate over the years and no job security so there are some things that are just a little more important that thinking ¨green¨.

M.D. Cameron said...

Cecilia, thanks for your comments. I agree that there are many important things such as education, job security, etc. that are not at their best in Argentina. Addressing environmental issues may very well not be the most important thing right now, but do you think that doing so impedes the gradual improvement of the other issues you mention?

Anonymous said...

I don't think green is so important. There are more important things like jobs and insecurity in the suburbs.


Anonymous said...

Mich, te olvidaste de mencionar lo de Uruguay y las papeleras!! beso,