Waste of Resources: Ferran’s Impressions

This post comes from our sister blog, Comité de Estudiantes, and has been translated from its original Spanish. Blogger Ferran Masip-Valls talks about one of the things he has found most different, and disconcerting, about the U.S.

Office is cold. (Creative commons photo by Flickr user Michael Cory)
Office is cold. (Creative commons photo by Flickr user Michael Cory)

The United States is crazy. New York rent, by law, includes water and heating, which are the responsibilities of the apartment owner, not the tenant. So when you rent an apartment, you do not have to pay for that water and the heating.

In other words, water and energy are wasted because they are “abstract” goods, which do not affect the consumer at any level.

The coldest time is summer, the warmest season is the winter … indoors at least. In general, one brings a jacket to the office in summer, and will go in short sleeves in winter. Such is the use of heating and air conditioning; extreme use.

The ice cream freezer at a supermarket in Washington, DC

You go to the supermarket and whatever you buy (even if it is only one apple), they will put it in a plastic bag when you bring it to the cash register. And, just in case, they will put that bag inside a second bag, just in case the first one could break.

Processed food – packaged, polished, frozen, prepared and cut – is cheaper. In other words, it is cheaper to buy “mini-carrots” prepared for salad, peeled and cut and “made up,” than to buy the same weight in natural and full carrots.

And that can be applied to most food.

This is such a large country that the real impact of consumption is not directly visible in the eyes of the consumer. It is changing a bit, and it is not true for all regions, but I would say that in the U.S.A. there is not an ecological consciousness, or at least not at the same level as in many other countries.

Submit your own stories about learning English or coming to the U.S. using the form below, or email jstahl@voanews.com.

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  1. How an individual see America varies according to one’s perspective. I never see this country crazy rather a piece of land that could offer vast opportunities to people regardless of races.

  2. Man, I wanna here more about the US from a forign prospective (bieng from the reservation I feel somewhat foreign to the US myself) it is a very inspiring and educational experience hearing from eyes and minds outside this wasteful country…

  3. I went to the United States one year ago and
    I agree with Ferran Masip-Valls. As him I tought “The USA is crazy” ! It’s so different, all things are big (cars, houses, food,…) and air conditioning… BRRR !

    Thank you VOA for your different programs and videos – it’s a fantastic way to learn english.

    (Sorry for grammar mistakes and others… I’m French !).

    1. Tu etais ou aux Etats-Unis ? Pour etudier ? Tu en as profite ? Sorry for grammar mistakes – I’m American! And don’t have accent keys on my computer keyboard ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. I did’nt go to the USA to study : I went to the USA to holidays, one month (august 2010). I did a tour/a circuit (?) in the USA : I began by New York, then I went to Philadelphia, Washington DC, Atlanta, New-orlรฉans, Houston, Santa-Fe, Las Vegas and Los Angeles (I also went to Grand Canyon National Park, Monument Valley,…). It was amazing and fantastic ! A great experience ! These holidays in the USA had changed my opinions about the USA – it’s (so) different that what we see in movies, on TV series,… ๐Ÿ˜‰

        1. Oh, very cool (and thank you for not making fun of my terrible French – it’s been a while since I had to use it!) I’m jealous…it sounds like you’ve seen more of the US than I have!

          1. It was very cool ! I saw beautiful landscapes and a lot of wild animals in Grand Canyon and in the others National Parks I visited. I talked with americans and it was very interesting. I know that I has been very lucky to do this travel (my parents could afford to me this travel – it was a reward for my good academic/school (?) results ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).
            For your french, it was not so bad ! I understood what you said ! And I suppose my english isn’t very good…

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