Australia offers new outlook on environmentalism

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    I have flown halfway around the world to begin what could be one of the most influential experiences of my life.

    Studying abroad this semester, I’m shacked up in a suburb of Perth, Western Australia (and quite glad to be). I came prepared to soak in all of their environmental practices that I will be able to import to the United States. In the few days I have been here exploring, I have found the green movement in play here through packed public transit systems and solar panels everywhere. But most surprising is the lack of air conditioning.

    This week will bring temperatures of 100 F or higher, and I can only beat the heat by running to the closest grocer to find a cool bench and a steady flow of AC. Regardless of the temperature, “no worries” seems to be the common idiom to brush off the pools of sweat that are taking over my skin. The absence of “ACon” is a shock to the system, but is not really a big deal according to my Aussie and Malaysian roommates. Whether a blessing or a curse, it leads to introspection. Could I return to the United States and go on without AC? Perhaps, but I would probably be ridiculed for doing so.

    Surprisingly, too, local organic produce is cheaper than imported foods.

    Back home, I have always found that a delicious, organic honeydew melon from Mission is almost always more expensive than the same produce from another country.

    It is a pleasant surprise to find organic local fruits a better deal.

    Well those are a few personally shocking bits from a far away land, but expect much more to come regarding environmental societal norms, university norms, and a whole other “green” perspective on living. Cheers from down under!