Saturday, April 18, 2009

Happy Earth Day

When your host family day, and only day off in the next two weeks, starts by needing to be in the car with hostmom at 6:45am, you know your life is not your own!

Yui and my hostmom, Sylvia, is a member of a nature club called Society of Wilderness. As today was the big Earth Day Celebration, her club was helping organize a shoreline clean-up along the Taiwan Straight. Yui and I came along. We weren't much help with the organizing part, since we couldn't speak to anyone, and Yui could only read the parts of signs/ characters that are similar to Japanese, but we had a great time in the sunshine, picking up trash along the breakers.

The coast of the Taiwan Straight near Taichung is very rocky, and at this time, very shallow for a long ways out. But there are huge cement breakers, and canal channels to help control flooding during typhoon season, and a lot of trash that washes up in this area. We had tongs and two kinds of gloves and hats and buckets and trash bags, and participated in the most organized beach cleanup I've ever attended. There were even "documenters" wearing arm bands and walking around with clipboards. They were looking at the trash we found and recording the different types.

I've also never seen a society so integrated and active in their recycling programs. Every meal we sort our trash into food scraps, cardboard, plastic, and chopsticks. This is in fast food restaurants, at the MRT, and for the cast on our own, as whatever building we are eating in also requires this sorting system to pick up our trash. There are huge campaigns to use reusable chopsticks, and many people have collapsible sets they carry in their bags/ purses. For our earth day lunch today, everyone at the event brought dishes from home to eat out of, and there was no trash from the event besides the watermelon rinds.

It was a humid, warm sunny day, and really lovely to be near the water. Then we came home for a nap and went to dinner with the boys- we had a dinner that sounds something like yahm-cha in JApanese. Its basically Chinese tapas-- bitesize snacks, spring rolls, fried pork, coconut jello bites, lots of fun and some unidentifiable things. Its a show day tomorrow, so I'm going to get to bed early.

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