Saying goodbye to Copenhagen and its pro-environment attitude

It has been a little over a month since I left Denmark. It feels strange to be back in Durham, but the familiarity has been nice. I wanted to wrap up my semester with a few final thoughts and impressions from living in Copenhagen for 4 months.

First off, the general attitude of people toward environmental matters is vastly different from those in the United States. Sometimes at school it seems as if the only people who care about the environment are those who major in Environmental Science. My friends – the engineers, the economics majors, and even a lot of the public policy majors – act indifferently toward recycling. My Danish friends, who studied topics ranging from film and media studies to veterinary medicine, placed high emphasis on the concept of recycling, taking special consideration to teach the Americans how to recycle according to the Danish system.

Positive attitudes such as these are key to promoting any type of pro-environmental agenda. Arriving back to a country where even the existence of climate change is still an issue only exacerbates my longing to be back in the progressive streets of Copenhagen. I am looking toward the future, however. I am looking toward a new generation of climate scientists and policy professionals who believe and care about this issue. I hope that Americans are able to learn from the progression other countries have made in terms of moving away from polluting non-renewables. Throughout the following semester I intend to detail my reactions in response to being back in the U.S., current research and course work and any other cool things going on in the Duke environmental community.