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18. Eco-friendly: (full)

18. Eco-friendly: (full)     It's difficult to exaggerate the magnitude of environmentally destructive & debilitating practices that pervade much of the world's developing nations in Africa, Asia & South America, unless you have visited, …wandered the worst of their back streets & neighborhoods. 

    Anecdote: Walking an Agra, India's (Taj Mahal):  local neighborhood street with raw sewage running down the middle and kids playing nearby, like an invisible man, I seem to go unnoticed as I walked, ... then,... leaning against a vacant lot’s wall, I urinate for lack of an option. 

SITs independent solo travelers are in a Catch-22 dilemma: OTOH, I MUST fly a carbon-spewing jet aircraft across oceans & continents to a host country, city & rural travel often in decrepit diesel-smoke spewing buses & tuk-tuks. OTOH, I can try, when practical, to do the responsible thing despite local cultural practices.

    Anecdote: On a rural bus to a mountain carved village, Lijiang, China, I dropped some trash and immediately picked up & put it in my pocket. Moments later, a Chinese lady who had been watching me,  reached down on the floor and picked up some trash she dropped. Apparently, simple practices can be contagious.

Trash Disposal: One of the most pervasive, in–your–face issues particularly in developing nations, is “trash.” These examples from my experience illustrate the following:

    Anecdote: A Tirana, Albanian uniformed government riverside maintenance person picking up loose trash and throwing it in the passing river.

    Anecdote: Marble Mountain, near Danang, Vietnam: exploring off the main drag I see & smell a neighborhood’s large pit of burning discarded plastic slowly smoking its
poison into the air. [ytlk: N Viet: Marble MT].


                           Anecdote: Yangon, Mysanmar's air pollution:



     Anecdote: Mexico’s rural highway shoulders’s covered with trash simply thrown from passing cars, and…  a local community’s open unfenced trash pit had blown trash a ½ mile down-wind coating everything. 

    Anecdote: India’s well-dressed student (in top 20%) eating lunch on the bus casually tossing his trash out the moving bus window without a glance.

IMHO, the fundamental problem is twofold: 
    1) government corruption is so pervasive that politicos won't forgo their ill-gotten gains to solve a problem that mainly affects a populace very used to strewn trash, Fortunately, USA is so wealthy its politicians can do both

    2) the lack of a trash disposable infrastructure makes day-to-day trash management impractical.

Ironically, Japan solves the problem by NOT providing public trash receptacles. Like American wilderness areas, “You pack it in, you pack it out.”        Japanese take it home.

You can’t easily fight the wind, but you can try.

Eco Volunteers: 

While not the typical SIT solo experience, I suspect you can get as close to the ground & the culture as you wish. Many organizations (Google Search), offer various volunteer eco-experiences all over the world. The irony is that you pay!! 😢. Usually experiences are a few weeks > months; often a weekly fee; $180 > 3000/week or work for basics: food, tools,  experiences.  

          Projects Abroad: (you pay$1500> $3000/week)

          International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) ($20/day including lodging):

      Tour & Cruises: some may be total eco-driven, or, partially so, in order to comply with tourist’s ESG demands, or, ….  others merely ’pretend’ to be.


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