Croatia

5 Ways Europeans Live Better than Americans

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | January 17th, 2012 | 192 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:

Top 12 Eco-Beach Escapes

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | March 2nd, 2011 | 2 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: Adriatic, American Samoa, Antalya, Atlantic, Atlantic Islands of Galicia National Park, Australia, Bai Kem Beach, Baiona, beaches, Beaches of Palawan, Best Beaches in America list, Blue Flag, Blue Wave, Brazil, Brela Beach, Caja de Muertos, car-free, Clean Beaches Council, Coffin Island, conservation, coral, Costa Rica, cove, Croatia, Dalmatian coast, Dr. Beach, East Africa, eco-friendly travel, endangered-species, escape, family, Fernando de Noronha, Fiji, Foundation for Environmental Education, Galicia, getaway, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, holiday, island, Koh Libong, Las Islas Cies, lighthouse, Makarska, marine habitat, Mediterranean, National Healthy Beaches Campaign, national park, National Resources Defense Council, nature, nature reserve, Nungwi Beach, ocean, Ofu Beach, Osa Peninsula, Pacific, Patara Beach, Pelícano Beach, Philippines, Phu Quoc, Phuket, Playa Matapalo, protection, Puerto Rico, rainforest, SAD, Sancho Bay, sand, scuba diving, sea, seaside, snorkeling, Spain, Spice Island, sun, surfing, sustainable resorts, swim, Tanzania, thailand, The Blue Lagoon, tourism, tourists, tropical fish, turkey, Turtle Island, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Vietnam, Viti Levu, volcano, water, Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Islands, wilderness, wildlife, winter vacation, Yasawa Group, Zanzibar

Eco-friendly family beach vacation

While I welcome winter along with all the other skiers and outdoor aficionados here in Colorado, by the end of February I’m ready for a surf and sand break. But cramming onto a crowded beach towel-by-cooler with hundreds of other sunseekers is not my vision of restoring my winter-weary spirit.

When you’re a beach lover and a nature lover, the quest becomes to find those pristine stretches of sand that make you feel you’ve discovered a place where time stops; where the rhythm of sea on shore is the primary sound; where the sun’s slow slide behind the horizon is the only marker of day melding into night. A place like, say, Bai Kem Beach on Phu Quoc, one of 105 islands that comprise this idyllic Vietnamese archipelago in the Gulf of Thailand. Picture a soft, white sugar-sand beach, fringed with slender palms. Phuket, half a century ago. No people. Just total, unspoiled beauty.