Austria & Alpine Adventures - V's Grand Return

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Alliteration: A subject line’s best friend. Anyway, the first leg of my month-long Eurotrip was centered on adventuring through Austria and photographing everything ever. Our trip took us through St. Anton, Innsbruck, Salzburg and Wien (Vienna), and as we were driving from destination to destination, we got to experience the magnificence of the Alps.

“What does this have to do with sustainability?” you may ask. Well, the fact is, Austria really has a handle on how to be eco-friendly and sustainable, particularly in smaller towns. St. Anton, for example, has solar panels installed on almost every building, rooftop gardens, an incredible recycling system, and a great majority of all their food is either grown locally or brought in from nearby regions.

What I found particularly great was the fact that the townspeople get their milk from the cows that are found grazing on the mountainside every morning. Cow bells and all. By a waterfall. Even in the metropolis that is Wien, there are water bottle fill-up stations in high-traffic locations to encourage the consumption of city water! The stations are tall, silver cylinders with 2 or 3 fountains installed around the base, and are placed on the sidewalks for easy access.

The rest of the city has the most developed system of bike lanes that I have ever seen; it is a major form of transportation, along with the trams and the metro. All three methods of transportation are efficient and very environmentally friendly. The only drawback to Wien is that the recycling stations that are found around the city aren’t nearly frequent enough to encourage a high participation.

At least, this is how it seems; culturally, maybe the Austrians are more geared towards a more eco-friendly mindset and recycle regardless. I can’t really draw any major conclusions without actually seeing some numbers; however, it seems that the country is generally fairly far ahead, sustainability-wise.

For more information on the recycling and waste-management systems available in Vienna, visit this site: www.eaue.de/winuwd/47.htm

- vedrana


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