There is no Ice in My Drink

Quest for Ice Leads to Change

Fancy ice tray bought in Lausanne, Switzerland. Release one ice cube at a time!

Fancy ice tray bought in Lausanne, Switzerland. Release one ice cube at a time!

It is truly the small things that bring us the most joy. For me, I just really love loads of ice in most of my drinks. Living away from your country of origin will reveal to you your particular small creature comforts. In Switzerland, as in all of Europe, ice is not really a sought after item. Most refrigerators do not have an automatic ice maker which is the norm in the US. In European restaurants your drink may have one ice cube if you are lucky. Most expatriates in Europe simply adapt to drinks being less than ice cold, but this Texan is “holding” on!

So for my unadaptable ice vice, I have been foraging for a proper ice tray to supply my need. After quite a bit of searching, I found the above ice tray at a local department store at the price of 14 swiss francs (14.60 USD). . . wow. It is actually pretty handy with the ability to release one ice cube at a time. Apparently, one ice cube per drink is the limit in Switzerland. Researching why ice is a rare commodity in Europe proved to be interesting and also lead me down a path to to becoming more environmentally responsible. At first, I thought that the lack of ice was related to the energy conservation and thus no automatic ice makers. However, it turns out that the majority of Europeans simply do not like their drinks extremely cold or watered down by ice.

“Sometimes it seems like the universe wants to be noticed.”  John Green

Café in Lausanne, Switzerland. My home away from home.

Café in Lausanne, Switzerland. My home away from home.

While I was researching the reasons why Europeans are pretty much indifferent to ice, another topic with immense gravity slammed onto my radar. A dear friend of mine recently shared a video produced by the organization Green World Rising:  (2nd episode).  This video describes in layman’s terms the grave danger our planet is in due to all of our human careless and reckless behavior. I too have been so careless with our amazing planet.

Although I have been well aware of the true threat to life as we know it, this video stopped me in my tracks and frightened me to the core. Up until now, I have been able to push away or make strong attempts to ignore the present threat to the existence of all life on the planet we humans call home. The phenomenon of global warming and the possible extinction of 95% of life on planet earth is supported by 97% of scientists around the world! This video and accompanying transcript left me feeling rather helpless to do anything to help save our planet and future generations of humankind that would actually matter.

“No one can do great things, only small things with great love.” Mother Teresa

Thankfully my quest for ice gave me some renewed hope of making a difference! I found out that the automatic ice makers that I miss so are actually huge energy guzzlers. In Jeffery Kluger’s recent article, How the Ice in Your Drink is Imperilling the Planet (, he explains why the ice maker uses so much energy . . .the tiny motor that allows the ice to be dumped is the culprit. There are over 111 million refrigerators in the United States using 8% of the electricity in an average home. Time to turn off the ice makers. It is a small convenience to do without and I am certainly capable of filling ice trays. My quest for the perfect ice tray while living in Europe has lead me to research and rethink my carbon foot print. Although changes must be made at the macro level, I believe true and meaningful change can begin at the micro level if we all commit to small changes . . .like turning off your ice maker. What else am I doing that I can commit to change that would help slow global warming? During the weeks and months to follow I will and I encourage you to research and commit to the changes that must become habit. Let change begin!

Each one of us can make a difference. Together we make change. B. Mikulski

Each one of us can make a difference. Together we make change. B. Mikulski








“Respect is one of the greatest expressions of love.” Don Miguel Ruiz 


Helen H. Thomas, Licensed Clinical Social Worker providing E-therapy services


About HelenHThomas

As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, I am honored to work at Cook Children's Medical Center as a Clinical Therapist providing supportive counseling for the parents of our tiniest patients in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. I feel infinitely thankful to share my life with my best friend and life partner, Dr. Charles R. Thomas (Chuck). Spending time with my wildly fantastic adult children, their spouses and our exceptionally wonderful friends makes my life complete. Life is good!
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