“For many, it depends on how easy it is to live environmentally friendly. If it's easy, we do it. ” It writes FUF correspondent Nick Nguyen in a column. Photo: Nick Nguyen.

FUF-correspondents, Chronicle

My attempt to live in an environmentally friendly way in Ukraine goes like this

It is easy to live environmentally friendly in Uppsala where I study. You can always walk or cycle to where you are going. You can choose environmentally friendly products at ICA and it is easy to sort waste. Even though I am not a vegetarian, I often eat vegetarian food. I always travel by train to other cities and I never have to drive. But it is also easy to quickly get used to this lifestyle when you are abroad.

A Ukrainian friend who studies in Uppsala told me that she absolutely needs to eat meat with every meal. She also did not want to try vegan dishes. Then I started teasing her:

- Why did you buy a heater? Surely it would be better to freeze in your room instead of ruining your grandchildren's future? Why did you fly to Amsterdam for a concert? Surely it is just as good to watch concerts on Youtube?

But I'm not a member of the Extinction Rebellion. I think climate change is a real threat, but I do not want to Sail across the Atlantic so as not to have to fly or sit on a train for over 12 hours. And now that I live in Ukraine, I realize that my climate footprint has increased. 

Once when I was shopping in a grocery store I wanted to buy something to eat.

- Could I have vegetable salad, rice, and chicken, pojalausta?, did I ask.

The woman who worked there picked some salad and put it in a plastic box. Then some rice and put it in another plastic box, and chicken in a third. Then she put everything in a thin plastic bag. I was speechless. 

I also needed to buy milk (oat drink was not available) and fruit. The thin plastic bag was fragile, so I bought a fifth plastic bag to carry the food home. 

Another time when I was walking with my friend Valeria in town, I bought soft drinks. When we went into the subway, I saw no trash can. She said:

- Nick, there are no bins in the subway. Never!

- You're wrong, I thought. They must be everywhere. But she was right. We left the subway and searched, but no rubbish bin was in sight - even though there were so many people in the area. Valeria laughed: 

- Nick, you will probably need to bring the plastic cup home!

I did not understand. It would be so easy to place trash cans on the streets so that people do not litter. Finally I found a trash can. It took me 20 minutes.

Garbage sorting can only be done if the conditions are there, and they are not where I live. I'm just human, so there's no alternative but to ignore it.

It takes 20 minutes to walk from Lukjanivska metro station to my university, but we have classmates driving. Every time they suggest that they drive us to the station or to a lunch restaurant, we of course say yes. It is also very cheap to take a taxi, so it is difficult to resist the temptation. We take the master's program in environmental policy, by the way, but who wants to walk for 20 minutes when it's so cold?

Once I sit in a restaurant, I usually discover that there are not many vegetarian options. I often end up ordering meat dishes.

What conclusions can be drawn?

My insight after all this is that even though Sweden must have an ambitious climate policy at home, we should focus even more on environmental initiatives in other countries, where there are many simple measures that can be taken. The fact that you do not buy plastic bags yourself does not help when someone else buys five plastic bags, which cost the equivalent of 50 öre, when you shop en once in a grocery store.

It is partly correct but also misleading to say that an environmentally friendly lifestyle is an individual choice. For many, it depends on how easy it is to live environmentally friendly. If it's easy, we do it. If it means a lot of trouble, we will not do it. It may sound illogical when the climate is such an important issue that is absolutely crucial for humans future, but that's how we humans are acts. This is something that governments need to think about.

This is a chronicle. The author is responsible for analysis and opinions in the text.

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