Thursday, June 18, 2009

Guanajuato, Mexico - Dumping Culture

Culture can be a funny thing. Americans do not tend to know their own culture, much less someone else's, so it is a bit difficult for Americans to come to grips with the fact that not all you encounter in Guanajuato, or any where else for that matter, is a sweet expression of a wonderfully kind and patient people.

The word "culture" is most commonly used in three basic senses:

* the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization or group.

* an integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for symbolic thought and social learning

* excellence of taste in the fine arts and humanities, also known as high culture

Culture is something that should be embraced and shared with the rest of the world, in my view. However, depending on whose culture it is, there are things within the culture that should indeed be embraced and made timeless, treasure it!

There are also things within culture that a society should very seriously consider eradicating from the face of the earth and never to be thought of again.

Guanajuato is a trash-dumping-where-ever-they-please culture.

At the beginning of June 2009, was the nationally celebrated "Let's all pitch in and clean up Mexico" day. Dressed in their cute little green smocks and with their green hats, volunteers swarmed into the Guanajuato river (cesspool) to pickup their fellow Mexican's garbage.

Admittedly, the river looked pretty decent when they got done. This valiant effort, by the precious few Mexicans in this country who are ecologically minded, allegedly took place all over Mexico.

Today, June 18, 2009, were you to come to my neighborhood in Guanajuato you would see little of the cleaning effort that took place at the beginning of the month.

It is as filthy as ever. The only thing I was unable to see was the discarded tire that sat in the brown mucky water for the past year.

Plastic pop bottles, plastic grocery store bags, shoes, complete bags of households of trash, toys, plastic plates, and God only knows whatever else, is in the river as it was before. The stench turned my stomach.

It was as though the litter thugs thought, "We'll show those neat-nicks and their ecology activism a thing or two," and just re-trashed the river to get even.

And, mind you, it isn't just children who throw their trash into the river when there are trash dumpsters no more than a crossing of the street to take advantage of! Children learn it from their parents and we've seen plenty adults dumping loads of garbage into the river or just on the street itself.

If success of anything is based on results, it does not take a genius to see what the: "the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization or group" regarding trashing one's environment is in this city.

How Mexicans deal with their environment is a culture of dumping and it is a horror to the world.

It is grafted (infected) in their cultural mindset and does not look to be excised from their culture anytime soon.

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