As someone who strives to be as environmentally conscientious as possible, doing so in America is not always feasible. After arriving in Sydney, Australia about two weeks ago, the first thing that stood out to me in contrast to America is the Australian focus on sustainability and waste prevention.
I had become increasingly aware that the average American lifestyle was extremely wasteful and desperately needed adjustments in order to prevent the further degradation of our planet. Prior to arriving in Australia, I had little hope that America as a whole could make the appropriate changes for the sake of saving our planet. Now that I have experienced how conscientious most Australian people (and even corporations) are, it seems as though a widespread change in a large country is much more possible than I had thought.
While these differences may be minor, they have a huge positive impact on the environment. One of the most significant differences that I noticed was the lack of plastic bags. In almost any store you walk into, one must either pay for a plastic bag or they are non-existent. Most of Australia’s residents carry several reusable bags with them everywhere they go. I spoke with a local recently who commented on this absence of plastic bags, saying that they had become a “scarce resource in recent years” — just as they should be. Delighted by this environmentally conscientious behavior, I immediately invested in many reusable bags.
Although this is such a simple difference, it is certainly not the only environmentally friendly characteristic of Australian culture. Besides the endangered plastic bags, Australian electrical outlets are furnished with switches to cut off the electricity when not in use. When it comes to traveling, their public transport system is vast and widely used over driving by car. After washing, a majority of residents line dry their clothing instead of using a drying machine. I could go on and on, but you get the point.
I look forward to being a part of a massive community that leaves a smaller footprint for the greater good of our lovely home. All I have to say to America: take notes.