Small Island, Global Village

Once again, this is a post recycled from my early blogging days. It was a great reminder of a fabulous trip and what I learned there. Enjoy!

Small Island, Global Village

The hubby and I just returned from 12 days in England. It was our first international trip together and our longest vacation. We took an organized tour to Devon and Cornwall for the first week. I was a bit nervous about the whole tour bus scenario. Who knows what you’re are really getting into?

Fortunately, we didn’t have a tour director who made us follow a yellow umbrella around. (Trust me, we saw several of those: “Keep your eye on the umbrella,” one guide trilled, “and keep up!”) Our tour guide Richard actually said he’d seen guides brandishing feather dusters to keep their troops in line. When we hit a stop, we were free to take off and explore on our own. And we did it with a vengeance; we ate every lunch on the run so we would have more time to take in the sights.

Les at King Arthur's Grave, 2005

Les got his picture taken at King Arthur’s grave. I never saw someone so happy to be hanging out at a cemetery plot. He also got to see Tintagel, the ruins of castle where legend says King Arthur was born. We were rushing so and had to run up and down cliff-sides on wet slate steps. In an effort to save time we took one shortcut down a small trail through gorse bushes. “Watch the bushes; don’t touch them,” Les warned me, just before I slipped and fell, planting prickly stickers into my hand. I still have some embedded there.

While being impressed by the seaside cliffs, the ancient buildings, and the great bookstores, there was another thing that impressed me–the global social consciousness in the UK. Conservation of resources was the norm. With gasoline close to a pound a litre, which works out to close to eight bucks a gallon, it makes sense that Brits would take public transportation and drive small cars (the Smart cars are adorable). But they seem to conserve all resources as a matter of course. We saw several wind farms, used to produce energy. Few places had air-conditioning–people open windows to enjoy the breeze. Even in our first exclusive hotel, you were required to place the key card in a holder to keep the lights on; when you left the room and took your card, your lights went off. Maybe because England is on an island and located closer to the rest of the world, people recognize that wasting resources affects the world.

Since arriving home I’ve become more aware of how wasteful I am. I waste water, leave lights on, and use way too many napkins and paper towels. I am trying to become a better steward of the resources God has given me. Just because I live in a large, relatively insulated country, doesn’t mean I have the right to waste resources. Americans compose only 5 percent of the world’s population, but they use 26 percent of the world’s energy. That sounds piggish to me. What can I do to bring that number down? What can you do? Why not share in the comment section one step you are going to try to take. Maybe it will give us great ideas we can implement as well.

originally posted on Tuesday, October 4, 2005

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