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The Top Ten Ways That Ukraine is More Environmentally Friendly Than the United States
By: Michael and Yulia
10. Public transportation.
Ukraine has a public transportation secret weapon, the marshrutka (a.k.a. the mini bus)!
Yes, they can be old and beat up, but marshrutkas patrol Ukraine's city streets like tanks holding back the assault of universal car ownership.
People love them too. They pack into marshrutkas during rush hour and can be so filled with people that they will literally lean over as they circle roundabouts.
Marshrutkas serve not only the cities, but villages as well. We have not been to a village yet that is not served by a marshrutka.
Imagine if the US adopted such comprehensive public transportation. It would free all those without drivers licenses from the prison of suburbia!
9. Compact cities and villages.
Thanks to this settlement pattern, there is plenty of open space in Ukraine. Ukrainians use this open space for agriculture or set it aside as protected forests.
America has a lot of land too. But they have squandered it by creating sprawling parking lots, landscrapers (malls, for example), and football field sized lawns where no one even plays any football!
Ukrainians have gardens everywhere! They wouldn't dream of planting monocultures of lawn grass when there are tasty vegetables and beautiful flowers to be planted. Apartment buildings in the city also have gardens tended by caring grannies. The space between apartment buildings is like a park. Along with gardens, they plant fruit bearing trees like apples and the vitamin packed sea buckthorne.
There are no highrises in a park in America. Instead, imagine highrises in a parking lot.
We get our drinking water from a spring in our village. The water was not put in plastic bottles and trucked in from far away. It just flows out of the ground, free of charge. There are springs all over the place. The village next to us has at least two that we know of.
America is not completely devoid of springs, but they certainly seem to be less common (while bottled spring water abounds).
6. Local foods.
Want some fresh parsley? Go to the bazaar where a cute granny will sell you some from her garden. It will also cost half as much as what they sell it for at the supermarket. Want a fresh apple in February? The same granny will brave the cold to sell you an apple. She uses a technology that is almost unheard of in America: the root cellar.
Want an apple in February in America? No problem! The supermarket will fly one in from Chile for you. You'll have to drive to the supermarket, of course. The land immediately around the store has been paved over for a parking lot.
5. Line drying laundry.
Homeowners associations in Ukraine obviously don't have the sway that they do in America (Maybe it's because Ukraine does not have homeowners associations!). People line dry their clothes on balconies and no one complains about the dreadful view like they do in the States.
What if your car could repair itself when it got scratched? What if its exhaust fertilized the soil? What if you didn't need enormous factories and supply lines to make it? Well, such a car exists! It is called a horse! A horse does not have a painted finish. It has living tissue that heals itself when it gets scratched. It also doesn't pollute the air with its excrement. You can use manure to fertilize the soil. You also don't need to build a factory to make a horse.
Horses are great for transportation and agricultural work, and they're used for just that in Ukraine. Plus, they're more environmentally friendly than automobiles and tractors.
3. Wild food.
Eating wild food is definitely environmentally friendly. Why plough the land and deplete the top soil when there is food that is just growing out there waiting to be harvested?
Ukrainians are knowledgeable mushroom hunters. They know which species are edible and where to find them. They also pick wild fruits and herbs.
It is possible to harvest wild foods in the US too, though it is imporant to know the legal system as well as local botany. It is illegal to take anything from certain parks, for example. This makes it more difficult than most people are willing to put up with.
2. Shoe repair.
Shoe repair? How is that environmentally friendly?
Let me explain. Instead of throwing shoes away when the sole gets worn down, Ukrainians take their shoes to get repaired. This keeps the shoes away from the landfill for that much longer. It is therefore less wasteful. Less material needs to be used to make the repair than to buy a new pair of shoes.
Shoe repair exists in the States, but it is much more expensive than in Ukraine. Many times it is just cheaper to buy a new pair of shoes than to get them repaired.
And this brings us to our number one reason why Ukraine is more environmentally friendly than the United States. Shoe repair is so prevalent in Ukraine because:
1. Ukrainians walk more than Americans.
When Yulia first moved to America from Ukraine, one of her first thoughts was, "Where are all the people?" When she looked outside from her house she never saw anybody. The streets were empty.
This is because many Americans simply do not walk. It is not a form of transportation for them.
In Ukraine, there are people everywhere. Being in the city means that you are around people. They walk more than Americans for a number of reasons, some of them on this list. Cities are more compact in Ukraine, for example, so it is actually possible to walk from home to the store.
As you can probably tell, there are no high tech gizmos or gadgets like solar panels or LEDs on this list (although we do have a LED lighting the room we are in right now), just a number of simple and cheap ways to be environmentally friendly. This means that there are no excuses. Let's all get going and start with these steps to be more eco-conscious!
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Contest Comments » There are 9 comments
Zeke wrote 9 years ago:
Very nice article, enjoy reading your blogs, enjoy reading the updates. Keep up the good work. Thank you and kind regards. Zeke
Olga wrote 9 years ago:
The information is very informative. The writing is of a high caliber. I look forward daily for updates...
Harolds wrote 9 years ago:
Hey's Mikes and Yulia I really like reading all the updates that you sends us about the lifestyle you lives over in Ukraine. The interview was also of interests to us here in Horshams PA. You folks keeps up the good works. Your friends Harold D
Ernie wrote 9 years ago:
Very informative and well written. I look forward for future posts.
Christina wrote 9 years ago:
This blog is extremely well written and keeps readers engaged throughout each and every post.
Susan wrote 9 years ago:
Very informative and very well written! I look forward to more updates via your blog. Good luck!
Alison Chino wrote 9 years ago:
This is super interesting to me. I can't figure out why we waste so much in the US when we could plant veggies or walk to the store. I would love to import some of these great practices!
Halia wrote 9 years ago:
Good article and very informative. Thanks for keeping us in the know!
Kristine wrote 9 years ago:
WOW, you guys rock! Keep it up and I will be one of your devoted readers!