A typical view of the Alps. Switzerland is primarily divided into the Alps, the midland and the Jura, another mountain range. Many people live in the midland where the “big” cities like Zürich or Bern are. This picture was taken on a summer vacation in Zuoz in the Alps. (Max Blessing)
A typical view of the Alps. Switzerland is primarily divided into the Alps, the midland and the Jura, another mountain range. Many people live in the midland where the “big” cities like Zürich or Bern are. This picture was taken on a summer vacation in Zuoz in the Alps.

Max Blessing

4440 miles from home

comparing nature and environmentalism

October 19, 2022

 In America, everything is bigger. That sounds like prejudice, but it is true. It starts with the small things. 

If you compare a milk bottle, in Switzerland it contains just 1 liter (about 0.26 US gallons). That is, compared to the milk bottles here in the U.S., not much. 

Another example is traveling distances. A journey from my home in Switzerland to the border of Germany takes, according to Google Maps, about an hour in the car. According to the same source, from Cincinnati to Canada it takes about four hours.

According to Wikipedia, Switzerland fits about 238 times into the United States. And you can feel that if you travel in the U.S., even for things which are located “next to” Cincinnati might take several minutes or even hours to reach.

Because the U.S. is such a huge country, the nature here is really diverse. The weather in Ohio is not the same as in Florida. In Switzerland nature is not nearly as diverse as here.

Squirrels! Squirrels are here everywhere. I have never seen so many squirrels in my life before. They are in the garden, crossing the street or relaxing in a tree at the park. I have heard about people who supposedly don’t like squirrels…I can’t understand that, but maybe I still haven’t been in the country long enough.

The same with deer. Deer that jump in gardens are nonexistent where I live; it would be the event of the year if you saw a deer somewhere other than hiding in the forest. 

Ways of protecting nature and our world are different in this country. I feel that this topic is not as popular in the U.S. 

For example, in Switzerland, hardly anyone drives their children to school. If you don’t have a specific reason for being driven to school, you will not be really popular at school because other people think that you are too spoiled or your parents could think that you’re not able to walk to school alone, etc. So it is normal that students walk about two miles to their school. If your school is in another town, you normally use public transport or a bicycle.

Here in the US, it is really common to get driven to school. This is not very good for the environment, but it is obviously more convenient.

Another thing, I’m not really sure how the recycling here works. In Switzerland, you have to recycle everything by yourself. I know that sometimes that can be really complicated, and I just hope that the garbage is recycled correctly here.

You may have realized that different countries have different natures and people deal with this nature in different ways. My exchange is not just a cultural exchange but also a natural exchange. If you are in another country, you are automatically in another environment. However, in my opinion, both our countries still have to do many things to save this environment, otherwise, we will have a bigger problem. 

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Max Blessing

In his first year as a Chatterbox staff member, Max Blessing is delighted to work as a columnist for the Opinions section. As an exchange student, Blessing...

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