I'm writing from St. Gallen, on the eastern edge of Switzerland, where I'll soon be starting some studies in sustainability - and getting the European perspective on these issues. More on the program later, but for now I wanted to relate what my hairdresser had to say about the country's environmental woes. Here is a paraphrase:
"They have to wash the water from the lake now, before we drink it. I know that sounds crazy, but they do. And up in the mountains, the cows have to go higher and higher to find land, and to make the grass grow up there they use fertilizer, and it kills some types of native wildflowers."
Now, these are serious problems, that deserve serious attention. But I couldn't help thinking how little the Swiss have to worry about comared to the US (and most of the world). Imagine being surprised that some municipal water systems requier treatment! Imagine assuming that all cows are always grass-fed, rather than being raised in feedlots on who-knows-what, and that the only problem is in fertilizing the grass!
Wouldn't it be great if we could all worry about such early stages of environmental disaster?
I'm hoping to learn a lot about how the Swiss accomplish this, and maintain their enormously high standard of living, and from time-to-time I'll post those thoughts here along with the usual posts.