Ruth's Diary


My mind never strays that far from environmental issues, but as is the case when natural disasters are shocking enough to make the news, climate change debates have cropped up again and I find myself analysing my own personal use of resources.

First, referring to the climate change debates, I find it dumb that people are still arguing over whether climate change actually exists or not, or whether man is to blame or not. By now, these questions should be moot point. Everyone should be able to agree that fossil fuels are finite, that the emissions they produce are unhealthy for us and our animal friends, and that they frankly cost a lot. Bio fuels aren't necessarily the answer either as they are more often than not grown in poorer countries and are grown on land that the tenants would prefer to grow food on. Another point that everyone should be able to agree on is this: we are living in an age when extreme and dangerous weather is becoming more common place.

So I think about my own carbon footprint... I'd like to think that mine is pretty low. I mean, I don't own a car, I try to buy products grown locally, I re-use plastic bags, I recycle, I avoid accumulation whenever possible and my flatmate (Jan) and I never switch on the heating in our flat. We don't switch on heating because the flat is generally warm enough without it. Even when it's freezing.

Saying that, I use so much electricity. It's one of those uncomfortable truths about myself. My entertainment is on the internet and I spend quite a few hours playing on my PS3. Dunno what kind of justification I was looking for myself last Summer when I spent those nights playing with the lights off.

OK, so on to a topic more positive: the kindness of strangers. As I'm typing this, my arms are still screaming from my trip yesterday hauling an unbuilt chest to my flat from the shopping centre. Basically, I found a chest in Kika, which is sort of an IKEA rival, except I didn't know how the shop works. I wanted the chest, so with my very basic Czech, I learned that a shop assistant printed out a receipt for me, which I took downstairs to make my purchase, then I took the receipt to the counter opposite the till. There - much like in Argos - someone goes into the warehouse and brings out the desired product. In this case, the chest is packed in its panels and with all the necessary screws for construction.

I didn't realise how awkward and heavy it would be. Stopping at regular intervals, I lugged the thing through the car park, through the shopping centre, along the 5-minute walk to the bus stop, got there just as the bus turned in and got on. After relaxing my arms on the bus for about 10 minutes, I lugged the thing to my flat. The usual 8 minute walk from the bus stop was heavily extended and by now, my very heavy arms were losing grip on the thing. At the final street, a man on a stroll stopped and asked if I needed/wanted any help (All I heard was žečešete pomoc, pomoc means help) and I sheepishly replied "trochu" (a little). He carried it along the street until we got to the main lobby of my massive block of flats, where I thanked him and he continued on his way.

But as I was preparing to open the door with the thing back in my arms, the jacket, which was tied around my waist, suddenly got loose and would have hit the ground had I not widened my legs. So I had no hands free and was in an awkward position. Luckily, a woman in a wheelchair was nearby, who had shouted something at me just as I felt the jacket loosen (she could obviously see it loosen), so she athletically (yes, really) wheeled over and grabbed my jacket before it loosened completely. I could then put my package down again and got my jacket back, thanking her as I did so.

I was able to bring the package inside and to my flat via the lift without any problems. So the question remains: was this pain and humiliation worth it? Well, as I was able to build the chest and then use it to store the various crap strewn around my floor, which gives me more floor space and less clutter, I would say yes.

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