Showing posts from 2013

Organic shouldn't be in plastic

Why do the big Swiss supermarket chains COOP and Migros wrap their expensive organic vegetables in plastic packages, while their cheaper chemical-laden varieties remain unwrapped and dry? We pay a premium for the "bio" label, so why are we made to accept vegetables that have been sweating and decomposing at a faster rate in plastic?

Doing some internet research, I found a letter from a consumer to Migros asking why the supermarket chain sells its organic zucchinis and eggplants in tough plastic wrappers. Representatives at Migros replied saying that they do so to satisfy consumers, who want to make sure that what they are really buying  is "bio" and to avoid the threat of contamination during transportation.

But according to the initial questioner, Swiss law concerning organic packaging prohibits packaging made out of "PVC or other chlorinated plastics." I wonder if that plastic packaging is biodegradable, or are we on to something?

Plastic wraps are sim…

Grabbing two hours on a Saturday morning

Last Saturday, after getting up at around 7:30, I ventured outside wearing my IceBugs (running shoes with metal spikes) and jogged 25 minutes with the dog. The sun reflected on the high peaks, and the air felt significantly warmer than it did yesterday, when temps were -18C.

On the road lay a carpet of fresh powder snow, disturbed by a set of tire tracks. While jogging, I was awed at seeing the outlines of a multitude of snow laden pine trees. How distinct each tree appeared!

After a shower and bringing the kids to ski race training, I met friends who live on a sunny, southeastern facing slope. The mood was jovial and there was even a snow ball fight and wrestle to start the day.

The group split up. Most were snowboarders, who went off into the forests to find some jumps and trees to scare, while my new friend Barry and I enjoyed the near-empty and buttery pistes. I practiced some newly-learned carving techniques, and as a stratus layer began to spread in from the west, covering up the c…

A mountain commute

So what does my commute look like in the Swiss Alps?

After a typical routine that begins at 6:30 a.m. and that includes feeding the birds, the dog, the children, and trying to remember each piece of ski equipment needed at school that day, I usually have to scrape ice from the inside and outside of my car's windshield and windows. And that's after having to shovel it out from under a few meters of snow. At around 8:10, the children have climbed into the car and the house's front door has been locked, we depart, heading down our icy, snowing driveway, and steep, one-lane road that is more than often coated with ice.

At 8:17, we arrive in the neighboring village, the kids jump out of the car, and after saying "bye mom", they head off carrying their school bags and ski gear. I turn around and head to the next village, where I usually park in spot number 59 in the underground parking. I insert four francs forty in the central meter, then head out onto the Promenade. …