Why Is Europe So Eco-Friendly, And Why Isn’t The US The Same?

I traveled to Paris, France over Thanksgiving break-- my first time going to Europe. Besides all of the beautiful scenery and iconic landmarks, I was most impressed by the country’s environmentally friendly lifestyle. The difference between Paris and the United States was obvious. 

Every single restroom in Paris has two-flush options. There was a small button and a large button for flush options above the toilets. This saves water and allows people to decide which option is necessary. Toilets in the United States mainly have one flush option, thus wasting water. Even the restroom in the apartment I stayed in had this system!

Another difference in the restrooms were hand dryers and automatic sinks. This was the standard for every restroom in Paris. Although we see hand dryers and automatic sinks in some restrooms in the United States, it is not an enforced standard for every public place. Many American restrooms leave you with the choice to use paper towels, even if a hand dryer is available. By implementing this change in the United States, we would save lots of paper and water. 

Public transportation is huge in Paris. There are train and bus options to travel outside of the city and even to other countries. You rarely see anyone besides cabs driving around in the city. Additionally, France has recently passed a huge tax on gas to encourage people to use public transportation. In the United States, public transportation is mainly an option in bigger cities, such as New York City and Washington D.C., and can be very unreliable. Public transportation such as the Metro is used mainly out of necessity to avoid bumper-to-bumper traffic. Public transportation is convenient and environmentally friendly.

If the United States made the environment a priority, then we could make huge changes as a nation to save the planet from rapidly increasing problems with climate change. Small changes can save an abundance of resources if they are implemented in a large scale.