Over the Winter break I spent nine days exploring various cities and towns in Poland. The weather was surprisingly sunny, but the temperature was well below what I’m used to in New York. It stayed between 3 and 18 degrees throughout the trip. Although I was all over the country, the weather was consistent. What struck me the most was the energy efficiency of the hotels we stayed at and the venues we explored. The lights in the hallways were off unless you were walking through them, as the sensors would detect you. You had to leave your key in a slot by the door so the power in your hotel room would work; this way you wouldn’t waste any energy when you took your key out of the slot and left the room. There were no disposable shampoo and conditioner bottles in sight. I’ve been all over America and haven’t seen anything like this!
The TED Talk with Garth Lenz was fascinating for two reasons. The first was simply finding out about the dirtiest oil and how it poses threats to some our most beautiful and important biomes. The second was comparing what Lenz predicted for 2015 in the 2011 video to what we are experiencing now. The keystone XL pipeline proposal that’s been around for years was rejected this past year by President Obama. I believe we are heading in a better direction than predicted in 2011, but there is plenty of work to do in order to restore all that we’ve sacrificed for our own convenience.
I also read an intriguing article from a NASA astronaut that was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. He writes briefly about his new perspective on the work he does, now that his time on Earth is significantly shortened. I thought this perspective was a great addition to my trip to Poland. It felt a bit paradoxical for hotels to be so concerned with energy efficiency in a country where millions of people were murdered during the Holocaust. Even in a place where I felt surrounded by death, it was refreshing to know that the establishments I visited were making a conscious effort to create a more sustainable future.