Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Climate Crisis in Italy

The climate crisis and clean environment movement is contagious and thank goodness it is. In Italy, suddenly, every magazine or newspaper you pick up has at least one article on cleaning up the environment. Am I more aware of this now myself or has it become a sudden important trend? I am not quite sure.

In a way, Italy is much more advanced than the USA in keeping the environment clean. The very things I complained about before are the things that have kept carbon dioxide emissions down in the country. Each household is allowed only 3 kw of power and this means to you and me that if you have your washing machine running you cannot use your hair dryer! This means that if you have your dishwasher going, you cannot turn on your air conditioner. I used to complain about this but now I realize that it is actually for our own good. I now wonder what would happen in a country like the USA if Americans were told to do the same. It would be difficult to get used to. What if Americans were told (and they are) to put their clothes out to airdry instead of using a dryer. I immagine sheer chaos.

Italians are used to living like this. For them it is also a matter of keeping their electricity, gas and water bills down which can be very steep. Few Italians even own dryers nor air conditioners. Is it because they are worried about emissions? I don't think so. It is partly due to a culture that never used these appliances and partly due to high prices which few can afford. No matter what the reason, it least the end result is fewer emissions.

So in a way, Americans can learn a lot from Italians. According to www.climatecrisis.net, the average American generates about 15,000 pounds of carbon dioxide every year from personal transportation, home energy use and from the energy used to produce all of the products and services we consume. That is mind boggling.

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