Blog Post #3 -Thabit Pulak

How do environmental issues register differently in different cultures? (Or do they?)

At their core, I think communities will always deal with issues that are relevant to their wellbeing. Especially in regions that are not economically well-off, the issues that the communities deal will only be of utmost importance to their survival. These different communities will have different cultures as well – often the cultures of the communities correlate to the social living conditions, sometimes dictated by the economic conditions of the area. We can see this clearly in the story “Staying Afloat” by Angela Pemrose. The central environmental issue is that affecting Mexican community, from the flooding mountain plains. This was directly affecting the ability for farmers to be able to farm their land. The issue of global warming on the other hand, will not be on the radar for this community, as this isn’t an immediate priority (also, this farm isn’t probably a big contributing factor to global warming).

The story “Staying Afloat” also demonstrates how different cultures respond differently to such environmental issues. In communities like the one described in the story, simple resources, such as even things that other would call “junk”, are utilized to solve the environmental problems. I personally find it amazing and I think it is incredibly innovative to be able to come up with such solutions when more expensive, complex alternatives exist. In Bangladesh, I personally have witnessed many inexpensive solutions to environmental issues. Pollution in many city areas is a very big problem, and gas-burning vehicles have been a large contributor to the problem. Recently, affordable electric rickshaws have been propagating throughout the country, which can seat up to 8 passengers (even up to 10, if really necessary!). I’ve personally driven and ridden in these – they are quite fun, affordable, and quick! They aren’t anywhere near as fancy as electric cars in America (Tesla, anyone?) – but they do a wonderful job solving a pressing environmental problem in Bangladesh that is affordable to the people, and is highly useful!

Penrose, Angela. “Staying Afloat.” Loosed Upon the World: The Saga Anthology of Climate Fiction. Ed. John Joseph Adams. Saga. 323-40. Print.