The cost of water in Brussels

So I'm not setting out to offend anyone, and my limited views are just that, limited.... but I've noticed some interesting trends I think that are worth talking about.

In America, I'd say most people aren't ecological friendly, and they're okay with that. "I drive an SUV, I don't recycle, I take 2 hour showers, yada, yada, yada.... It's my God given right" And we all know how I feel about that. I live (in the U.S.) in a house were every room has motion sensors to shut off lights, where water-flow is restricted with the latest fittings, I'm a member of the electrical "shut-off club" (not sure what it's really called) where I allow the power company to control my A/C unit in the summer. I have programmable thermostats, fluorescent bulbs, yet I live a really great awesome life, that's cheap by US standards.

I realize I'm a rarity in America, and when you arrive in Brussels everyone tells you how ecologically friendly they are, but I've seen very few signs of it. In fact there almost is a hypocrisy, as in they all believe they're participating in some community eco-friendly scheme, but individual do very little than the popular aspects of recycling and public transport.

Now first I must point out my school, is state of the art, and most of the stuff I mentioned in my house is installed there. However throughout the home-stay process it's constantly re-iterated how expensive water is here in Brussels. It's like a manufactured statement designed to limit foreigner's use of water. That's all great and such, but from both statistics I find online, and the answers I received from my host-sister last night it's not that bad at all. Maybe even less than the states, and to make it more interesting, most land-lords include it in rent, so why are they complaining? Environmental consciousness? Then why are there not flow restricted on sinks and showers. None of the three home-stays I've done since my arrival had restrictors of any kind. I did my entire house for under a $100, and cut my water usage to 1/10th of it's previous flow.

Then there's the climatization or A/C/Heat as we call it in the U.S. The Metros and trams have no problem running the heat when the weathers 85 degrees, and worse yet there's absolutely no consistency in temperatures here. Even my high-tech school has the HVAC system blowing hot air out, as we beg for mercy for an open window. Do we really even need heat on the trams? (Ask me again in Dec.)

There are some good things here, like the motion censored escalators at public transport, and accepted use of bring-your-own-bag to the supermarket.

What really is the crazy part to me is the Internet here. Technologically speaking, Brussels is in the dark ages when it comes to Internet and mobile data. Tiny 40 Gig plans a month are common at home, and I can roll through 15 Euros of mobile data in three days. You can't even use the GPS on your phone here without dropping a 5 Euro bill, which puts what is often seen as the city of the future, oddly behind so many other places I've visited. There's so much international-ness here it isn't funny, but ask the average person here about an Internet meme, international news, or even a cult television program from the UK, and you might get a blank look unless they're one of the few who manage to circumvent this bottleneck.

I'm not sure what to make of all this, and whether a blatant disregard like we have in the US is more acceptable than a society which does have some measures of ecological-ness but lacks the technological implementation to not sound like hypocrites (be nice to me) when you dig into the details.


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