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September 13, 2021

Europe has been Americanized. And yet, it resists…

Photo: one meal, on the train, one family, so much toxic carbon-cooking waste to last forever.

It is so beautiful here in Europe. And yet in many ways it has been Americanized, cheapened. ⁠

Keurig single use coffee in cafes and hotels. To-go cups. Bottled water. Graffiti, plastic waste lining the beaches, ugly cheap development and the mowing down of old buildings with sustainable density (a recent international study showed that the extremes of suburban sprawl and vertical skyscrapers were both less eco than traditional density in cities) replaced with conventional buildings with ugly rootless craft-less bad materials. ⁠

Of course, much of Europe remains strong. In Paris si tu try to parle French, they light up and are kind. If you arrogantly push English, not so much. Many cafes do not even offer to-go options, which is how it should be.

(Drink an espresso if you are in a rush! Paper cups are lined with plastic, bad for you and birds and our planet). ⁠

Trains and buses and protected bike lanes (thanks to Paris’ mayor, read up on her and vote if you’re local!) are everywhere. Paris is full of vegan food (#7 in the world!), sparing animals a life of separation, suffering, then murder. And the vegan food is good for us and yummy and, if you like, traditionel. ⁠

Parks, reading, conversation, and fashion and preservation are held up high.

In Spain, now, there is good and bad. Beauty and expansion tangle—a wetlands replaced by another highway, a beachfront with only one lovely building surviving the onslaught of new and cheap. But too there is fruit and vino and good bread even as they serve you olive oil in plastic packets.

There is a path forward of kindness community craft history progress equity justice and fighting climate crisis with everything we’ve got. It begins with changing our daily habits and ends with advocacy, voting for the best candidate who can win, then pushing them to do better. The path between is paved with both love and responsibility, in equal parts. ⁠

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