As an SIS student who is potentially interested in concentrating in Global Environmental Politics, the first thing I have noticed on our trip has been Rome’s recycling system and respect for the environment. Italian culture permits for certain environmental practices that are much different than America’s. I believe that the way in which a nation deals with its waste can be very telling of its people and its culture.
Rome’s appreciation for the environment is something I wish we had back in the states. Around the city you can turn almost any corner and find a beautiful tree or floral landscaping woven into the busy streets of Rome.
Surrounded by tables and hungry customers is a tree. Just a tree. While the developers of downtown Rome could have easily cut this tree down to make the construction of the café easier, they instead decided that the tree had value and was worthy of appreciation—I love this about Italian culture. In the US nature can often be viewed as inconvenient, but in Roma it’s just something to work around (literally!).
One last bit I would like to add is about the recycling system. Rome has public garbage and recycling collection. On most streets you can find large, usually smelly, dumpsters designated for wastes or recyclables such as plastic, cardboard, and glass. I think that this system encourages recycling—many businesses back in the US (or maybe just in Illinois) do not recycle simply because it is slightly more expensive than just throwing away all of their waste. While there may be an influx of recycling, it may be cancelled out by the fact that Italians love bottles.
|Overflowing garbage can in Vatican City|
|One of the few individual recycling systems I have seen|
|Roman street fountain|
While Rome may not be as green as other nations, it certainly has instituted many practices that would be welcomed in America. Italy has some of the most scenic views in the world, and it would be a shame to see global warming and/or climate change destroy part of what makes this city so beautiful: its environment.
|During our layover in Zurich, Switzerland the airport was proudly bragged about the country's environmentalism|