Who is more environmentally concious – The USA or the EU?

American Flag and European Union Representation

Having had the unique opportunity to live on both sides of the Atlantic, I’ve observed firsthand the differing attitudes and practices towards environmental consciousness in the USA and the EU.

by Serge De Marre

Through my lens, I hope to shed light on the question: Who is more environmentally conscious?

Walkability: The European Advantage

European cities, with their compact urban planning, naturally lend themselves to walkability. The short distances and well-designed city centers encourage walking, reducing the reliance on cars. Contrast this with American cities, where expansive urban sprawl often makes car ownership not just a convenience but a necessity.

Public Transportation: A Clear Divide

The public transport systems in Europe are not only extensive but are embraced by all levels of society. Trains, metros, and buses form the backbone of urban and intercity travel. In the US, however, public transportation is often viewed as the last resort for those without car access. Cities like Houston are making efforts to improve, but resistance from car-centric cultures and infrastructural challenges persist.

Cycling and Sidewalk Infrastructure

Biking in European cities is not only facilitated by extensive bike lanes but also by a culture that respects cyclists. Sidewalks, well-maintained and ubiquitous, ensure that pedestrian travel is safe and enjoyable. This sharply contrasts with my experiences in Houston, where the cycling infrastructure faces significant challenges. Bike lanes are sporadic and often meet with opposition, while sidewalks can be in a state of disrepair or, surprisingly, even occupied by parked cars, further complicating pedestrian movement. This practice of parking on sidewalks not only highlights the dominance of car culture but also reflects a broader challenge in American cities, where the infrastructure and societal norms do not always support sustainable modes of transportation.

3 Sidewalks

The Automobile Dichotomy

The preference for smaller cars in Europe is evident, aligning with a greater environmental awareness and the practicalities of narrower streets. Meanwhile, the American love affair with large SUVs and trucks, often classified as “compact” by European standards, underscores a different set of values and lifestyle choices.

Grocery Shopping: A Bag for Every Item?

European grocery shopping habits also reveal a deeper consciousness towards waste reduction. The norm of packing items into a single reusable bag starkly contrasts with the American practice where convenience often leads to excessive plastic bag use, especially when I forget my reusable bag at home in Houston.

Final Thoughts

The question of who is more environmentally conscious isn’t about pointing fingers but understanding and learning from each other’s practices. It’s clear that both the USA and the EU have their strengths and areas for improvement. As someone who has lived in both regions, I believe the path to greater environmental sustainability lies not just in policies and infrastructure but in fostering a culture of awareness and responsibility

If you’d like to read more about this subject, here are some interesting articles:

Learn more about Serge De Marre

5 replies
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    binance says:

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