Sevilla goes green

While Sevilla seems to lack the impassioned environmentalists that populate the US, they do seem to have their minds made up about the benefits of recycling and progress toward sustainable living. There are a few different things we have happily encountered while trying to be green abroad. Most recent examples follow.

SHOP
– pay to use a shopping cart at the supermarket, get your 1 euro back after you return it to its proper place.
– pay to use a plastic shopping bag. only a few cents, but I’m on a budget here!
– all señoras have rolling bags, and we have seen some outrageous stuff fit in there, including but not limited to 15 pounds of raw meat and 5 bottles of wine.
– we are reusing shopping bags, or trying to.

ALTERNATIVE TRANSPORTATION
BIKE
– you’ve heard me wax poetic about Sevici in many of my blogs. It remains a damn good idea and one that I am sure to miss upon returning to the US.. truth be told I do miss my car but enjoy seeking other means of transportation. Particularly those that involve fresh air. HOWEVER, we mailed in our applications for a year-long subscription more than a month ago, and we still don’t have our cards! Come on, Sevilla. Come on.
BUS
– Sevilla’s city buses run on clean energy / fuel (energia limpia), or at least some of them. The local buses run frequently around town and just outside, and several major lines service the nearby cities – although I’m not entirely sure that they run on any sort of clean product.
The bus system (TUSSAM) also uses a tap card system – $1.50 for the card, rechargeable at any Tabaco store or Prensa kiosk. Minimum $6 recharge. Boarded the bus last night, tapped the card on the machine, and it said I had $5.40 remaining. Did I just take a bus ride across town for $0.60?
TRAM
– There is a highly random light rail running a short distance in the historic district. I think the major draw would be an air conditioned ride from point A to point B in the summer, but otherwise I am unsure how useful it is. In truth, we can ride our practically free bikes faster and farther than the tram.
METRO
– We do have a metro running through the city, but the service is limited. The project looks promising, but our contract certainly doesn’t last long enough for us to reap the benefits of said project. (see: 2017).

RECYCLE
– there are receptacles for glass, paper, plastic, metal, even used household oil. We make a valiant attempt to sort all of these things before heading out to the garbage bins outside of the apartment. Our first day in town they were handing out free bags at the commercial center which we now use to carry out our recyclables.

HOUSEHOLD
– toilets are low flush .. except ours which tends to run for a long time unless you swat at it.
– our hot water heater requires an open gas line and a light, which we shut off after using it for showers or washing dishes. Right now our current bombona consumption is at about two weeks per tank, 13 euros each time. Split between three people this is nothing, but we are crusading to be better bombona users. (personally, I’d rather spend my money on croissants).

IN THE NEWS (BBC)
One of the most startlingly advances in green technology involves our drive back and forth to school every day on the A-49 with my coworkers. Remember that I work 40 kilometers outside of Sevilla, so while this is not in our city it is still in the province. Jaime’s curiosity got the best of him and his found this article about it, courtesy of the BBC. Let me just tell you, it is QUITE a sight to see on a sunny morning in Andalucia. It looks like streams of water are shooting out the top of the tower. Next job is to find a way to tour this place …. solar plant enchufe?

mirrors

Holy solar power

“It is Europe’s first commercially operating power station using the Sun’s energy … and at the moment its operator, Solucar, proudly claims that it generates 11 Megawatts (MW) of electricity without emitting a single puff of greenhouse gas. This current figure is enough to power up to 6,000 homes. But ultimately, the entire plant should generate as much power as is used by the 600,000 people of Seville.” BBC News, May 2007

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