Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 25 – Let’s go save the world!

Since I’ve been here, I’ve had a great chance to catch up on a bunch of podcasts that I really enjoy listening to. One of my favorites, and probably the only one that I’m loyal to is NPR’s “Wait! Wait! Don’t tell me!” a show that recaps the week’s news, with a rotating panel of very hilarious individuals, and one guest star a week. One week they had Dick Durban on the show, just after he had failed to push a bill through the senate giving some sort of special recognition to the show. They have all sorts of actors, musicians, politicians, and more on there. It’s a great show, and I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t heard it before.

Anyway, I’ve been catching up on all the shows since Halloween. Usually I’ll listen to one a day, or so. I finally got to the show that talked about the Climate Conference in Copenhagen. One of the things they said – in a joke, of course – was about how someone suggested a way to save the environment, that had all the liberals crying and screaming at the conference: Stop showering, and drink instant coffee.

This was particularly amusing to me, because it’s the case that the rest of the “undeveloped” world already does this. And I had a thought at that moment: if you ignore all the other factors of being developed and threats to the environment, and solely look at “showering” and “coffee preference” then it seems like a bit of a conundrum. If the goal is to have all the countries in the world at the same development level, then one would assume that would mean showering on a daily basis, like most people in the “developed” world, and drinking Starbucks. [And according to this EXTREMELY simplified model] leading to an even greater issue with the climate.

Of course, this is extremely simplified, and isn’t accurate at all. And I’m sure not too many people would be happy with me using “showering habits” and “coffee preferences” as key indicators to climate change. Don’t worry, I know how absurd it is too. It is more about the principal of the issue. I say this because of internal conflicts that everyone has, including myself, about the climate, personal responsibility, and the constant hopelessness that comes because it seems like one person can’t really make that big of a difference. While all of us mean the best, it’s a difficult and steep uphill battle. Sometimes you don’t want to take a shorter shower, and sometimes you’re eyes are bigger than your stomach and the food goes to waste. I realize that I’ve talked about this before, and came to the same conclusion, but it is something that continues to plague my attention while being here.

On a side note, today (Sunday) I’m going to the beach. After last week, we decided to make it a weekly event. We have this and next week. However, next weekend we’re supposed to be going to stay the night in the desert and go for a camel ride afterwards. I’m excited.

This is week 4 in Senegal, and I have this week in Saint-Louis, and the week after in Dakar, then back to negative-cold-as-hell degrees in Minnesota.

PS. My belly is back to normal. I bought some bananas and crackers.

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