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The Swiss Life
Tuesday, 09 September 2008

An American, a Cuban, a Nigerian and a Swiss were asked the same question: Can you give me your own honest opinion on the biggest scarcity in the rest of the world?

The American answered: Ah yeah, but what’s ‘the rest of the world’?

The Cuban said: I don’t know, what do you mean by ‘my own opinion’?

The Nigerian asked: What does the word ‘honest’ mean exactly?

The Swiss said: I’m sorry but what is ‘scarcity’?

Switzerland is one of the richest countries in the world with an unemployment rate that is half of most European countries. For this reason the country attracts a lot of foreigners who all come to look and find jobs. Switzerland’s history of neutrality instantly fills me with a feeling of safety. Not the sound of bullets flying over my house here, but instead waking up with birds singing. I don’t need to think about taking my credit card out of my wallet every time I go out in fear of becoming victim of an armed robbery. And: I can actually leave my bicycle unlocked here! Switzerland’s two main cities Zürich and Geneva have been ranked 1st and 2nd with the highest quality of life in the world. I’m in neither one of them but have just arrived in St.Gallen, a cozy university town 1 hour by train from Zürich. Here I will be working with some cool people at Oikos who have awarded me a grant to continue my PHD research. I’m excited since Switzerland has a long tradition of sustainability practices. At my first Organic Exchange conference I met people from Remei AG and Coop who have been doing eco fabrics for ages. And I know Swiss NGO Helvetas runs several organic cotton projects from Mali to Kyrgyzstan. My first trip to the supermarket this week enlightened me for the great choice of organic products. That alone erases the word scarcity out of my vocabulary.

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