German Grün VS. American Green
“Which do you like better, the U.S. or Germany?” my Dad asked me after my first year at MU. Though I had been to both countries and had a taste of both cultures, I didn’t find it an easy question to answer. There are just so many aspects of each of them. But as a traveler, one thing that I am sure of is that disposable plastic cups in express hotels in the U.S. don’t win my favor. In Germany, instead, reusable cups are always found in hotels and inns.
The cup situation probably could suggest the different fashions of “Going Green” of the two countries, as “Going Green” has become a global trend. Americans have environmental activists, such as the No Impact Man. And they are the people who push the movement forward. In Germany, it is more than a No Impact Man; sustainability penetrates the culture. It is more than a group of activists demonstrating in front of the White House, being green has become a tag of the nation.
I read that in Germany, the share of renewable energy has crossed 20 percent mark based on the report by German Association of Energy and Water Industries released on August 29, 2011. The increase could not be possible without its widespread “Green Culture”, no matter it is the ambition of the government administration, the effort of the Green Party in politics or the consciousness of the people. Meanwhile, in the U.S. the Obama administration just gave up its plan on stricter ozone pollution standards. The USA Erklärt blog compared the energy consumption of the U.S. and Germany.
The policies cannot do it all. I remember visiting a German couple in Osnabrück in Germany. In their house, they have bins in different rooms to collect different kinds of trash or recyclables. They also introduce these classification rules to their guests and ask them to follow. They grow vegetables in their garden and air dry their laundry in their backyard. The husband is now retired and is involved in local conservation groups. I’ve been looking forward to visiting them again and studying from them.