5 Sustainable Living Practices Europe Teaches the Rest of the World

Morgan Casavant
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Europeans are leading the world in sustainability practices. It’s not that Americans and the rest of the world don’t take sustainable living seriously (even though a shockingly large number of Americans still don’t believe in climate change.) – it’s more that our society wasn’t built for it.

Sustainable living is the opposite of living in excess, wasting valuable resources, and harming the environment in the process. Sustainable living is not complicated, costly, or even challenging; in fact, it’s a simpler way to live.

This article is all about what we can learn from Europeans about sustainable living.
 

Here Are 5 Sustainable Living Practices the World Should Adopt From Europe:

Europe is incredibly forward-thinking and continues to make big strides in technology as it relates to conservation and sustainability. While there are many sustainable practices the rest of the world should follow, the following five simple practices are a great start.
 
 

1. Europe Has Better Public Transit

European countries, especially the main cities, are simply built better. Sustainable living becomes much easier when you can take trains and busses everywhere – even across country borders. And European systems of public transit are affordable, reliable, and so easy to use.
 
 

2. Europeans Peer Pressure Each Other

But the good kind of peer pressure. In European countries there’s this sort of ‘social contract’ of sustainable living. You’re expected to take provided city transit or your bike, reduce your waste, live simply, and so on. And if you don’t abide by that social contract, your peers will likely call you out on it.
 
 

3. Plastic Bags are Shunned

Can I get a Hallelujah?! Europeans look down on plastic commuter bags, like the ones we take our groceries home in. By 2025, they have a goal to reduce the number of plastic bags to 40 bags per person, per year!
 
There is also legislation in place that allows for member states of the EU to ban plastic bags entirely. Take notes, America.
 

 

4. Reusable Products

We have this habit in America: disposable everything. Grab a meal to-go? Disposable plates and cutlery. Need to shave? Disposable razors. Need to clean something up? Disposable wipes. Sustainable living in Europe means owning quality products that are intended to be reused and built to last.
 
 

5. Everything is Smaller

In America, we’re taught to “go big or go home,” which can at times be our downfall. In Europe, everything is much smaller. From their cars to their refrigerators, sustainable living is simplified when everything you own isn’t so damn big.
 
The apartments are smaller, you probably wouldn’t have a clothes dryer or a microwave, and you’d have just enough fridge space for a week’s worth of groceries (that you get from the local market down the street). Oh, and you will most likely be given a funny look if you ask for A/C.
 

Let’s Take a Page Out of Europe’s Book, Shall We?

It’s not that Americans care less about the environment, or that Europeans care more. It’s more like the culture we’ve been raised with values wealth over health, and personal gain over community success.
 
But we, as the next generation, have the opportunity to break this cycle.
 
We have an opportunity, and a responsibility, to elect representatives that care about what we care about, and who will push for more opportunities for sustainable living in America. We can educate anyone who will listen about what we know. We can educate ourselves on everything we can do to help.
 
This is our planet, and as a citizen of one of the wealthiest countries in the world, we have a responsibility to lead by example. We must conserve our planet for ourselves and future generations.
 

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Morgan Casavant

Morgan is a graphic designer and yoga instructor committed to inspiring compassion, balance, and centeredness - on and off the mat. She loves minimalism, the zero waste movement, and all the things working to protect the environment.

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