5 Ways Europeans Live Better than Americans

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | January 17th, 2012 | 211 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: American, Americans, bicycles, cars, coffee, community, Croatia, diet, europe, Europeans, food, fuel-efficient, gas prices, happiness, happy, italy, la dolce vita, lattes, obese, overweight, relaxed, siesta, smart cars, stress, travel, walking

Florence, ItalyWhenever I visit Europe — whether to explore a few former Soviet bloc countries or to take a  2,000-mile driving trip through Italy and Switzerland’s Ticino region — I’m always struck upon “re-entry” into the U.S. by how BIG everything is here at home.

We drive big cars, especially here in Colorado, where every other vehicle seems to be an SUV. Our cars have big cup holders for our venti Frappucinos and Big Gulp sodas. We live in big houses that we furnish with stuff we buy at big-box stores. Our big refrigerators – and often an extra freezer – are crammed full of food we purchase at big supermarkets. And, alas, we ourselves are big, and getting bigger: According to the American Heart Association, more than 70 percent of American adults are overweight, and of those, nearly 38 percent are obese.

Europeans clearly do things differently from us. Yet their ‘smaller’ lives seem in many ways richer and fuller. I’ve begun to notice some of those differences that we might do well to consider. Here are five that really struck me:

Green Your Family: A 5-Step Plan to Success

Leslie Garrett by Leslie Garrett | April 21st, 2011 | 4 Comments
topic: Green Living | tags: bicycle, bicycling, bike, car-pooling, carbon-footprint, cars, children, climate change, driving, eco-friendly, emissions, energy, environment, family, food miles, garbage, go green, investing, kids, local, money, new year's resolutions, parenting, planet, power, public transit, recycling, saving, showers, tele-commuting, trash, waste, water use

Family taking out the recycling

Was “go green” one of your New Year’s resolutions? Even if your composter is still empty and there are chemical cleaners still lurking in your cabinets, don’t fret — Only 12 percent of those who make New Year’s resolutions actually keep them for a year. Which, frankly, is 12 percent more than I would have guessed. But if you’re like me and the other 88 percent, what can help us keep resolutions is the support of others.

With that in mind, this Earth Day I’m enlisting my family in the greening goals I set for 2011. And by “greening” (aren’t we all just getting sick to death of that word?), I mean treading more lightly on my wallet, my Daytimer, my blood pressure and Mother Earth. Surely THAT’s a resolution worth fighting for!

Is Going Green Just a Feel-Good Choice?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | November 18th, 2010 | 5 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: automobiles, bats, bird deaths, birds, Canada geese, canoe, carbon emissions, cars, chemicals, climate change, CO2, eco-friendly, energy, environment, environmental toxins, environmentalist, fossil fuels, green, green building, greenwashing, Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, kayak, kayaking, landfills, LEED, LEED buildings, LEED certification, nature enthusiasts, nature photography, nature photos, photography, plastic, power grid, recreation, recycler, recycling, sandhill cranes, save the environment, skyscrapers, songbirds, toxins, transportation, travel, turbines, water sports, weather, wildlife, wind farms, wind power

Sandhill cranes

Buying a kayak qualifies as a “big purchase” for my family, and my husband and I recently took that huge step. Although we’ve had a canoe for a long time, this is our first acquisition of this type of silent-sports, aquatic craft.

Hybrids in the HOV Lane

E.B. Boyd by E.B. Boyd | October 21st, 2009 | No Comments
topic: Green Living | tags: cars, Green Living, hybrids

Have a hybrid? Enjoying riding solo in the carpool lane? Those days could be numbered.

Some in California’s legislature are proposing new rules that would either grant solo driving privileges only to vehicles powered by alternative fuels like electricity and natural gas or would require hybrids to get at least 65 miles per gallon, rather than the 45 miles per gallon combined city-highway mileage required today. Why the changes? Too many hybrids.

The “Gas” Station of the Future

E.B. Boyd by E.B. Boyd | September 9th, 2009 | 2 Comments
topic: Green Living, Green Tech | tags: cars, electric cars, electric vehicles, future, technology

Ford, Chevy, Nissan, and Mitsubishi have all announced plans to release fully electric cars in the coming years, which means we’re going to have to have charging stations available for about a million all-electric cars by 2014. So, how’s that going to work?

Good question. Here’s your cheat sheet on what they’re calling electric vehicle “smart charging.”

Cash for Clunkers – Not SO Green

E.B. Boyd by E.B. Boyd | August 12th, 2009 | 2 Comments
topic: Green Living, Green Tech | tags: cars, cash for clunkers, enviro, green

Back in June when I wrote about the upcoming Cash for Clunkers program, few observers actually thought many people would take advantage of it. Surprisingly, then, as you’ve probably heard on the news, it was so wildly successful that it used up its entire $1 billion allotment in a single week!

Cool Your Car, Save The Planet

E.B. Boyd by E.B. Boyd | July 8th, 2009 | No Comments
topic: Green Living | tags: cars, Green Living, solar, solar panels, solar-power

Summer means swimming pools and hot dogs and… boiling hot cars. Raise your hand if you’ve recently almost burnt your hand on your steering wheeling after your ride’s been baking in the sun.

Keep Your Car, Up Your Gas Mileage

E.B. Boyd by E.B. Boyd | March 3rd, 2009 | No Comments
topic: Green Living | tags: cars, commuting, fuel-efficient cars, gas, gasoline

Yes, I’m that girl. The one who speeds up on a city street only to slam on the brakes 100 yards later in the face of a stoplight. Apparently I’m not only doing a number on my brakes. Turns out it’s not so good for the environment either.

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a 300 mpg car.

E.B. Boyd by E.B. Boyd | October 1st, 2008 | No Comments
topic: Green Living, Green Tech | tags: cars, eco-friendly, planet

You need a new car, and you want to do your bit for the planet. So you’re weighing your eco-friendly options:

There’s the Prius, of course. Cost: $25,000. Mileage: 46 mpg.

The new Smart cars are cheaper–$17,000 for the two-seater. Mileage: About the same.

Living Roundup: Al Gore’s New Slideshow, Hybrid Rental Cars and More

Gaiam Staff by Gaiam Staff | April 11th, 2008 | No Comments
topic: Conscious Living News | tags: al-gore, cars, clean-green, climate, compassion, cooking, meditation, movies

Al Gore: New Thinking on the Climate Crisis

In his update to the legendary slideshow featured in An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore presents evidence that the pace of climate change may be even worse than scientists were recently predicting, and challenges us to set it right. (Technology, Entertainment, Design)

Enterprise Opens ‘Green’ Branches