Getting Things Done

How do you deal with national issues like food waste and traffic congestion?  We have our traditional approaches that we think of, but it’s fascinating to see how other countries deal with these situations.

China is experimenting with solutions to traffic congestion that don’t require as extensive a support infrastructure as light rail or subways.  Their approach is to elevate buses – but not on separate tracks, but rather on existing roads.  The buses are designed to actually travel over vehicles on existing streets!  Some infrastructure is required but it doesn’t look as massive as building a completely separate transportation system.  I wonder how they deal with trucks and other large vehicles on the road?  Maybe they design a separate transportation system for *those* vehicles instead?  Hmmmm….

Food waste is a major issue around the world, particularly in Western countries.  Italy passed laws with the goal of eliminating 20% of food waste nationally, going from five million tons of food waste per year to four.  Part of the solution is bureaucratic – making it easier for food to be donated to those who need it, even if it’s slightly out-of-date.  Legislation about making it easier for farmers to donate excess produce is also part of the mix.

But the other aspect is cultural – changing the way people deal with the food they have on their plates at restaurants.  Apparently in Italy it isn’t very common to ask for to-go containers for leftover food. Money is being spent on advertising and educational campaigns to convince Italians that there’s nothing demeaning about taking unfinished food home and making another meal out of it.

Small steps can make a big difference.  And sometimes it’s just helpful to see how other people approach a problem – something I love about traveling.


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