Build a Green Community Teach Non-Natives To Speak English
Posted Apr 15 2009 11:48pm
Shopping in Mexico when you speak very little Spanish is a wild adventure to say the least – I just experienced it two weeks ago on my 14 day eco-blogging adventure. You can see by the photo that it is difficult to understand when you go to the grocery store and are faced with a wall of “foreign” language.
Imagine if you felt this frustration every day of your life? Imagine if you could not read signs, pharmaceuticals, and ingredient lists? How would you be able to take the correct medicine dosages or find the best value for the least amount of money? You would not be able to. Simple truth.
Now I want you to consider something controversial in the United States - nearly one in five Americans speaks a language other than English at home according to the Census Bureau. This has been an increase of nearly 50 percent during the past decade with most speaking Spanish, followed by Chinese then Russian. Americans who discriminate against non-English speakers would shout, “THEN GET AN EDUCATION! SPEAK ENGLISH!”
Although I agree that people should learn the primary language of the country they live in, I propose that the solution is far from realistic. Our culture has truly become the melting pot that our founding fathers imagined. My family has a mixed ethnic heritage, and so does most everyone’s in the U.S., and now even President Obama shows us that a “non-traditional” family is the norm for American society.
With that in mind, instead of fighting against the non-English speaking community, why not welcome them and try to help them to learn English? Many non-English speaking individuals who live in the U.S. cannot afford English lessons and some are not even literate. This is happening in my own suburban community.
Instead of complaining and whining about this problem in our communities, why not do something about it? If we teach other people how to speak English and build community together, than we are HELPING OURSELVES too.
Here’s why – if you could learn how to read labels, than you would understand that CFL light bulbs utilize less electricity. If you could speak English, you could ask people how you can save money on your utilities. If you could be a part of a greener community that works together to conserve water and electricity, you would pay less for utilities and be able to save more money so you could put food on your family’s table instead. Even more importantly, understanding medical labels (like the ones above) would mean you or your family might have less emergency room visits. Also, you would be able to go to a doctor and understand what he says for your family’s health.
Do you see a pattern here?
If you claim to be “green” in your lifestyle, an important part of that green lifestyle is helping your community to understand each other and the world. Make a difference for your community today – be generous with your time and help someone learn English.