Bratislava: A City of Surprises

By: Valentine

Among hidden cocktail bars and a blue church, I found a civil effort to make Bratislava more sustainable.

Luckily, my Airbnb was near a bulk store called U Dobrožrúta. The small store provided the option for residents to easily implement a zero waste lifestyle. From toothpaste tablets to dried pasta, there were useful package-free products at a reasonable price. In the small shopping trip I bought potatoes, carrots, granola, and lentils for the price of three euro. The accessibility and affordability of the store made it easier to sustain my lifestyle choices and connect with others.

The people working in the store were happy to fill up my reusables and provide tare weights for them. The local store was full of other people committed to living more green and the workers were helping others be as zero waste as possible.

The many nonperishables available from dry pasta to granola to spices.
Different liquid detergents and soaps for refilling.

People can reduce their carbon footprint if options are available to them. Trying to maintain a zero waste lifestyle while traveling is not easy, but by actively seeking out alternatives, I have been pleasantly surprised with the civil effort to live sustainably in each country. I personally believe that the higher demand, the more probable there will be a change to suit the demands.

Choosing to support local bulk stores and rejecting plastic consumption begins a conversation and then an intervention of the absurdity in these harmful plastic habits that have intruded our daily lives. Business owners, policy makers, and regular residents will hopefully begin to take notice in a change of thinking and way of living that is waving across the globe.

In March, Slovakia approved a new environmental strategy called “Greener Slovakia—The Strategy for the Environmental Policy of the Slovak Republic.” The government’s action plan sets concrete and measurable goals which should be met by 2030 in order to avert an ecological collapse. This plan covers three areas: protection of water and biodiversity, climate change and air protection, as well as green economy. Moreover, the strategy proposes to better protect national parks and forests. The state’s goal is to ensure that 75% of the national parks area should become natural territory, free of human interference. Environmental education is also set to become a cornerstone of formal education.

I believe that there is hope. I believe that there is the ability to have our world transformed to a more sustainable and better place. It will not be easy, but it is possible. Through educating and actively resisting the disastrous thinking that is plaguing our species, a transformation of how our society is organized to benefit all is possible.

If there is an amenity lacking in your community that you feel needs to be proposed, do it! Look into the process of what it would take to implement a sustainable alternative to what is currently presented.

The view over the walls of Bratislava Castle revealed the unexpected sight of windmills turning in the distance. I soon passed them on the way to Vienna, Austria, known for their commitment to sustainability.

Windmills in the distance from Bratislava Castle.

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