Save the Polar Bears, Use the Carpool Lane

Victor Sánchez Berruezo

We share the same language, but after a week of living in Southern California, I think it’s safe to say that it doesn’t stretch much further than that.

I grew up in a small suburb in the South East of London; small, quaint, accessible, it was the perfect place to spend a childhood. My family was then relocated to the madly superficial city of Dubai, somewhere very far from quaint. After living in the sandy metropolis, I thought I’d seen every aspect of the high and fast life. I then touched down at LAX, where I discovered I could not have been more wrong.

Let’s start with the roads. The driving. The mystery that is the “carpool lane.” I have never been to a place with so many unnecessary road lanes, until I hit rush hour. Yes, during peak hours, the number of lanes is rather useful, but causing six rows of stand-still traffic seems overly excessive. Once learning the rules and purpose of the carpool lane, I could not believe the amount of people that drive by themselves. Why spend so much time stuck in traffic when you can share a ride and have time to get a coffee before you walk into the office? Not to mention, helping to save the polar bears in the meantime. The M25 can be painful on a good day, but I’d take that any day over the freeways of California.

My next issue, public transport, or should I say, the lack of public transport. Everyone has cars for convenience, that is an easy concept to understand, but we have to come back to thinking about our melting ice issue. The more people use public transport (which is very cheap, I must add, $2 per ride!), the more accessible the County will make it. I have to take the bus to and from UCI every Tuesday and Thursday, it is now labelled my weekly chore.

What is with the weather?! I was led to believe that the O.C. (again, I may be taking this from the TV show…) was year-round sunshine, but no. I have been here for two weeks and have already experienced a rainy couple of nights and have had to start taking jackets with me due to chilly evenings. Chilly Evenings! I was hoping to return back to England with bronzed skin and bleached hair, but it looks like I’ll be bringing back a common cold to spread instead.

To me, a poor student from rainy London, Southern California is a haven of sunshine and happiness. But things could be done so much more effectively and better, whilst remaining convenient. More carpool lanes, more public transport routes, increasing the price of fuel. These are just a couple of initiatives that would help save those penguins in our icy lands up North.