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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.