Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Today's post is called "Cuesta." I have been thinking about this topic ever since La Gringa posted on her blog (http://lagringasblogicito.blogspot.com/) on Dec. 15, 2008 about customs and culture. She was talking about culture and customs in Honduras, and how a country's customs aren't always beneficial. She talked about how some people resist change because as they say "Cuesta," which in Spanish (in this context)means it costs me something, that it takes a certain amount of effort or time to do things different.

Well, I have been thinking about that phrase in reference to habits and ways of thinking in the United States. Our current way of living in this country is harming the planet we live on. It is so important for us all to make some changes to preserve and care for what we have. But the majority of us in this country aren't making very many changes...why? I think first of all, many people aren't thinking about the consequences of their lifestyle, they are just living in the now. Also, I think we have become so accustomed to doing what we like, or what's convenient.

Time for a few examples. How many times have you watched a commercial, and thought, "Wow, that product would make my life easier!" or "That's a cool, new product. I should buy that." How often do you think, "Do I need this?" or "I wonder what the impact of using that will have on the environment." Another example is that of using cloth diapers. I think some people don't use them because they think it's going to be a hassle to have to wash them. Or what about using cloth napkins, or real towels instead of paper towels. We go for what's convenient instead of doing that extra load of laundry. Recycling is another example. I know people who say they are not going to take the extra effort unless the city is going to pay them.

Well, I would like to present a new way of looking at this. "Cuesta!" Yes, living in a more sustainable way does cost us something...more time, effort, etc. But maybe that's because it's worth something. Because it has value. Doesn't everything good cost something? Also, doesn't not doing anything cost us MORE? What will the consequences of our lifestyle be? What consequences will the pollution have on our health? Where will all that trash go? What will happen to the world's resources if we keep consuming as we are? Doesn't our health and the living conditions of our children and their children have a value?

Maybe instead of asking ourselves "What will make my life easier?" we should ask "What is the right thing to do?"


  1. Lots of good points in your article. I do think that Americans are more environmentally aware than many, but as you say, they don't always do anything about it.

    As far as commercials go, I have to say that living in a third-world country, I have a new appreciation for the ridiculousness of some of them! One recent commercial seems to strongly imply that you will be a better mother if you use paper plates. And do you really need a separate tool to clean each different item in your house? ;-)

  2. You are right about the "awareness" of Americans of how we should take care of the environment. Unfortunately, an American living the typical lifestyle in the U.S., even though doing a few good environmentally conscious things (like recycling, or using cloth bags), still has a carbon footprint WAY bigger than the typical person in Honduras. Kind of ironic. I do like the fact that the government, when they do get involved, can do some positive things to protect the environment, something that in other countries does not happen.
    Oh, I have seen that commercial about the paper plates, sooooo ridiculous.

  3. Good post. Culture is also a byproduct of your era or generation. My mom used paper towels and plates a lot. I seldom use either one b/c it's a no-brainer. My sister and I asked her one day about her overuse of paper towels and such. She said a good mom in the 50s and 60s was taught by ads that they were more sanitary. She just wanted to have a clean and modern kitchen. Funny that La Gringa brought up the add about paper plates. I tried to send you a comment a few days ago but my internet connection was not working well then.


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