October 11, 2002

The Dutch Landscape

Category: Personal — Biella @ 1:45 am

I was on the train yesterday, on my way to interview Ivo and Charl two really cool Debian developers who live in the really lovely town/city of Delft which has stunning architecture. I have been on the trains here A LOT lately, loving the green of the Netherlands blur by me highlighted by some very colorful graffiti.

On this train ride, I thought about the first time that I ever gave any serious thought to the Netherlands and it was back in high school in San Juan, Puerto Rico. My junior year, I went on this huge environmental trip, instituting a recycling campaign in my school, founding an environmental club, organzing trips to really cool spots, and scheming different innovative ways to raise money for environmental campaigns. My car (aka “the recycle-mobile”) was always jingling with the sounds of cans (I had to take the cans in to the recycling center myself) and everyone would playfully make fun of me as the sort of “strange” environmentalist. For example, during senior prank day, “Kill the Whales” was splattered across my car painted on with some soap. I left it on my car for weeks as a sign of pride : )

I took a really great environmental science course with this teacher, Jose Maldonado a teacher that did not mess around with schooling and teaching. That is, he was hard as hell, making us write a 25 page paper at the end of the term about an environmental problem, the causes, and possible solutions. It was in that class that I first really heard anything about Holland as he used to refer to it as a model country in terms of sound environmental planning. He described it as this node of small cities where most of the population is centered with vast amounts of land surrounding it that was either used for farming (and in a smaller scale than the US which is well, not that hard) or just there. left to be. So despite a relatively large population, the environmental impact is lessened by concentrating folks in these nodes instead of what we do back home, which is spread people all over da place as if the US were some large piece of toast that needs some serious buttering.

Back in high school, I remember thinking how rad that sounded and how much I wanted to go visit to check it out. Over 10 years later I am here for entirely different reasons but still very glad to see the lanscape that I so admired from a far long ago.

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