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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: