Some Nations Plan

While my specialty is critical thinking, especially when it comes to global issues; sometimes nations do things that I both agree with and am impressed by.

The Netherlands is working on something I believe is very logical and necessary — planning how to manage rising sea levels and global warming in the coming 100 years. They’ve planned in the past (1950’s) to manage the sea and their bodies of water in such a way that people are safe and can also enjoy the fruits of their water. But as has become very apparent, the plans made 50 years ago are insufficient when you consider what we know now about the increasing speed that these changes take place. So instead of waiting for a major disaster, they’re devising a plan and dedicating big money to preparing NOW.

For the real details I recommend mr. Amsterdamize himself, who does a good job of laying out, in understandable terms, what the government is doing so far and what the ultimate outcome will be. Like myself, I think Marc finds it a strange contrast, going from watching the news about the gulf coast of the US scrambling to get out of the way of storms to reading about the Dutch government, planning for any storms or water disasters in the next 100 years.

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Economies and Plants

During my lunch break on Myesonday I made my way over to a plant store near Olympic Stadium, here in Amsterdam.  Usually working past the time places stay open, I thought it best to buy my spring plants during my work day, plus I’d seen this shop several times since starting my new job, seemed like a good place.

CentrumI choose my spring flowers and bring them inside to pay the extremely tall, grey haired gentleman with the glasses. As I pay him I look down at the pansies and ask (in Dutch), I’m from the New York area, where normally pansies don’t make it once the weather gets warm; I’ve always wondered, does that work the same way here, or do they last longer since its slightly cooler weather here?

The man looks down at the little plants and begins to explain using alot of hand motions: We’re on a very similar level compared to New York, on the globe relatively speaking.  So the same, technically, applies, you only get flowers for a few months and its over.

From there the man seemed to jump into a larger conversation:

It is all related. Plants in the US, plants in the Netherlands. Mortgage crisis in the US, mortgage crisis here.  Whatever happens, his tone gets louder, in the US, we will always feel the effects here. Then he looks at the ground, although, I think we’re better equipped to survive the crisis, as people don’t use credit to but things the way they do over there. But mortgages, oh the mortgages, these prices in this country have been out of control for too long, it had to stop. Again he returned to his earlier statement, I think we can survive it, we are a small country and people can be very smart about not borrowing and not getting into debt schemes, I hope we survive it with minimal damage.  But again, it is all relative. Pansies, economic crisis….. US, Netherlands.

Have a nice day and good luck with the planting, he waved to me as I stepped out of the shop.

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Good Postal Ideals

Ever notice all the overnight delivery-parcel company planes at the airport? They’re everywhere. Taking off, landing, filling the sky, spanning the globe.. to get your packages to you fast.

Rarely does anyone talk about the world of express delivery and the ever-growing fleets of planes in that industry, and their effect on our planet.  Why even within distances between cities only a few hours away from each other, the fastest way is said to be by plane…  so naturally there is yet another plane flying from one city to another, adding some more pollution to an earth that is begging for some relief.

As I think about this, I read the news out of France; TGV trains handling mail! Yes indeed, they called person who proposed this idea crazy at first, but in a country where high speed trains make long distances seem like nothing, with modernized and plentiful connections, France has the right circumstances to provide fast mail transport without having to fill the skies with more planes. And they’re really doing it!

Of course they have their share of problems once they want to go beyond France. Der Spiegel talks about problems that connecting German rail lines aren’t prepared for this plan. I know here in the Netherlands, the high speed rail lines are still few and just barely completed.

However, the point is that here we have a great solution for a problem that few nations are willing to talk about or seriously try to solve.  Cut down on unecessary flights, including those dedicated to postal delivery.  France wasn’t just born with this infrastructure… they planned rail transport properly some 50+ years ago .. and now not only can their businesses benefit, but so can our environment, with less emissions coming from rail transport.  With the new AGV trains, we’re talking EVEN less emissions.

Just because some countries, be it here in Europe, or anywhere in the world, don’t currently have the infrastructure to do this.. doesn’t mean this is the time to simply give up.  Investments should be made, elected officials should be working for such innovations, and citizens should demand this kind of solution.

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