Luis and Cathy, Luxembourg
Interview conducted in Praia do Norte, Faial, Azores
Luis and Cathy were enjoying a snack while keeping an eye on a surfer braving head and a half sized waves near a stunning black beach on the island of Faial. Beaches are rare on the Azores islands. There was the faintest of sulfur smell in the air. It seemed to be coming from the sea foam, released as the waves slowly ground the volcanic rock into fine black particles. Their words follow.
What is your favorite part of living in Luxembourg?
We love the strong social programs. Luxembourg is a quaint small country with a lot of opportunities for outdoor activities.
What is your least favorite part of living in Luxembourg ?
All the construction. The whole country seems to be always under construction.
Do you see the weather changing in Luxembourg?
Yes, there are definitely changes. Winter is starting much later. The is no skiing in Luxembourg but it is something we enjoy. The closest skiing is in the Vosges mountains but it is never certain there will be snow there. They have started making artificial snow but it is not the same. Summers are also getting much drier. Two years ago we had a forest fire. It was the first in 30 years. The weather just does not seem to be as stable and predictable as it was in the past.
Do you see changes to nature?
We notice it most in the plants. Last fall the colors of the leaves did not seem to change. They just dried up and fell off.
Is there anything you would like to ask or tell me? We are most interested in solutions. What have the people you have talked to been suggesting? People seem to expect government to act, take care of this for them, but are not doing their part. In order for people to switch to a more ecologically concise lifestyle, the changes must be economically interesting, said Luis. Overall I (Luis) do not think people are ready to change. Globalization is a big part of the problem. It seems crazy to buy apples from New Zealand and beef from Argentina.
Cathy stated that we have some friends who recently became vegetarian, not because of the proposed health benefits, but to move towards more sustainable eating habits. We think a good question to ask would to ask people what they are doing to reduce their impact. Other people might incorporate these ideas into their lifestyles. We like to pay a little more for things grown locally.
Luis, Cathy and I continued to talk about the project. They were interested in how it started and the number of interviews I was conducting. They did not totally agree on the path forward but respected each others opinions. Cathy seemed to think that meaningful progress could only be made by government mandate and that individual choices would not be significant while Luis voiced that everybody trying to reduce their impact was very important. Moving towards purchasing local products was something they both agreed was an important part of the solution. They also desired companies to make robust products and were willing to pay more for thing that can be fixed.
I agree that we need to build thing once again that are reliable. Maybe people should seek out these type of products or there should be some sort of penalty for things that are only used once. I know that fixing things and giving them a second life can instill a sense of pride. It is only recently that people who extended the useful life of things have become not as cool as people who buy the latest and greatest things. There are so many behaviors that contribute. Getting back to the old ways of producing food in areas where it is possible and eating at least a couple times a week what is available in you local seasonally might be a start. Not all places have season or climates that are ideal for food so global food sourcing is not all bad but we seem to have taken it to an extreme.