In comparing the coasts, I don’t want to paint in broad strokes (New York is like a steam engine, San Fran is like flowers) but there are some places where the contrasts are too stark to ignore. Case in point- earth consciousness.
New York: In my 40-floor office building, there is only one place to recycle cans and bottles, on the 19th floor. After seeing multiple co-workers toss their Fanta bottles in the trash without a second thought, I started a wee Green initiative. I would collect cans and bottles in a bin near my desk, then periodically empty the bin on the 19th floor.
You’d think I was Captain Planet himself for all the resistance my tiny effort met. Mockery and derision were the main fruits of my labor, but I also had a sitdown chat with our operations coordinator, who told me I was bringing filth into the office and that my operation would be shut down if it got out of hand.
San Fran: Keep in mind, I am working in a different office of the same company. As part of my introductory tour here, I was given full instructions on how to separate compostables from recyclables from “True Trash.” Every item in the pantry is made from nature, from the 100% recycled paper goods to the corn and potato-based utensils. There are even places on my floor to recycle wine corks and used batteries. When I point out how amazing this ethos is, people look at me blankly, like “is there any other way?”