5 Ways European Citizens Can Help the Environment

European residents must do their part to protect the environment, just like all other global citizens. Climate change is real, and thousands of scientists continue sounding the alarm that we need to change our ways. Future generations may have to deal with all kinds of shortages if we can’t figure out methods to reduce our wasteful tendencies.

We’ll talk about a few things the average European citizen can do to help the environment right now. Most of these actions won’t require that much behavior modification, and you can feel good when you do them.

How European Citizens Can Help the Environment

Dispose of Cleaning Products the Right Way

Studies have shown the hazards of many cleaning products. Half a century ago, many chemicals people used around their homes harmed both those using them and the environment when a homeowner disposed of them.

When you buy household cleaning products, check the labels to ensure they don’t contain anything that harms the planet. You can find household cleaners that specifically say they won’t cause damage when you use or dispose of them.

Rather than dumping potentially harmful chemicals down the drain or somewhere outside, you can often contact your town or city’s government and locate waste disposal centers that will take them and deal with them. You might collect all the leftover chemicals and receptacles you have and take them there once a month or so.

Bike to Work or Take Public Transportation

If you can, take public transportation to work, when you need to go to the grocery store, or if you have another errand to run. If you don’t live somewhere with buses or trains nearby, then you can ride a bike to reach the places where you need to go.

green travel

You might have to take your car somewhere occasionally, such as if you’re picking up something that’s too large to carry with you on a bike or to take on a train or bus. If you can reduce the number of times you drive, though, every time you save yourself a trip, you are helping the planet.

If you bike or walk somewhere, you’re also getting in some much-needed exercise. Many of us live much more sedentary lives these days, so walking or biking helps you get your steps in and burns some calories. That can save you money you’d spend by joining a gym.

Purchase an Electric or Hybrid Vehicle

Every year, more hybrid and electric vehicles come out as well. If you can get one of those instead of one that runs exclusively on gas, that’s very helpful to the environment.

If you have a gas-running car, you can trade it in, which will lower an electric or hybrid vehicle’s cost.

You can also buy a used or certified pre-owned electric or hybrid car. That should save you some money if you can’t afford a brand-new one.

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Every year, European nations continue building more electric charging stations to help with this transition. The switch can’t happen instantaneously, but if you can join this gradual movement, you’ll know you’re taking a concrete step toward reducing your carbon footprint. That will reduce foreign oil dependency as well.

Use Long-Lasting Lightbulbs

When you go shopping, you can look for long-lasting lightbulbs instead of the old-fashioned models. It might not seem like that will make much of a difference, but an energy-efficient lightbulb can last far longer than the traditional kind.

Buying the energy-efficient kind with the coils will save you money since you will not have to replace them as often. You can usually count on these bulbs to last you for several years rather than a few months like you would get with the old-fashioned, solid version. Also, since you have to throw fewer of them away, they make less trash in landfills.

Shop Wisely

You can get in the habit of bringing cloth bags with you when you go grocery shopping or shopping for small items. You can reuse those bags again and again.

green-freezer-bags

You can keep those bags in the car with you if you go run some errands. If you happen to forget the bags, you can also ask for paper bags in stores instead of plastic ones. Many stores no longer carry plastic bags anyway, but you can insist on paper ones when you buy things in the stores that do.

These small actions can help conserve our resources, and you can set a good example for your friends, neighbors, and kids as well.

6 Common Reasons Why Sidewalks Are Seldom Used

One of the common neighborhood problems is how people walk on the streets instead of sidewalks. Going to and from work or school, they find it more convenient to walk on the streets because it is free from obstruction. At the same time, the space is wider compared to the human traffic experienced in walking on sidewalks. Sidewalks are often dominated by vehicles limiting the volume of people they can cater to.

Not using the sidewalks may provide convenience at some point but it compromises the safety of the people. In building a community, one of the most important considerations is easy and safe means of transport. Allow the sidewalks to give the people a reason to walk instead of hopping on a bus or taking a cab. These 6 reasons will give you a clearer view on why people seldom use sidewalks.

(Image Source: https://www.citylab.com/life/2016/04/las-vegas-gamble-with-pedestrian-powered-streetlights-solar-kinetic-energy/476292/)

1. The Lighting Design is Poor

Lighting design is one of the considerations in order to maximize the utilization of sidewalks even at night. This does not just make them visible at night. Lighting also helps in making the people feel more secured. There are a lot of people who walk home at night. Walking in a dark sidewalk makes a person more cautious about the surroundings. There is the feeling of worry about how walking in a dark sidewalk alone will compromise their safety.

Most urban designers think highly of the lighting design of the streets. Apart from the fact that it compromises safety, this is the most common reason why few people choose to walk on sidewalks at night. There are a lot of all-in-one solar street lights with an innovational design that brings out the essence of well-lit sidewalks. Apart from the fact that it is energy-efficient, these street lights are also providing direct and vibrant light on the streets.

2. The Vehicles Dominate the Sidewalk

Instead of being able to pass through smoothly, small vehicles are parked on the streets. Being able to dominate the sidewalk limits the space where people can pass through. Spaces designated for small vehicles should be provided for the people to maximize the space designated for them. Most people park their bikes and motorcycles on sidewalks because there are limited spaces for them. This may seem like a small issue but it constitutes to why people choose not to walk on sidewalks.

3. The Space is Limited

In planning urban or rural sidewalks, the designated space depends on the volume of people. This is the primary consideration making it possible for the sidewalk to cater to the population. Know that not all have the means of transporting through bus or cab. Most people choose to walk block by block. When the space is limited, it will take time to walk from one block to another because you keep bumping on people.

Sidewalks with limited space are more likely not to be prioritized by people. This is one of the urban and rural issues which should be provided with a long term solution. Most people choose to walk on the side streets. Apart from the fact that it’s convenient, the human traffic is manageable compared to the ones in the sidewalk. Convenience and walkability feature is what the sidewalk should feature.

4. The Obstructions Affect Human Traffic

One of the best examples of sidewalk obstruction are trees that are too big for the sidewalks. With the limited space provided for the sidewalk, the growth of trees become uncontrollable. In choosing the landscapes for the sidewalks, the space it should be consuming ten to twenty years from now should be taken into consideration. Most landscape architects and designers choose large-scaled landscapes not for aesthetic purposes but for the natural sun-shading feature it provides.

5. The Sidewalks are Poorly Planned

When a sidewalk is highly utilized, they are more likely to undergo several planning and research for development. Not because there is a space designated for a sidewalk doesn’t stop the responsibilities of the planners. They have a lot of design considerations for sidewalks to consider before building, designing, and landscaping. These sidewalks are a life-long solution to people violating the rules and regulations.

6. The Sidewalks are Unfriendly for Pedestrians

Unfriendly sidewalks result to poor utilization. They are not used based on their fundamental function. Instead, they are used as an alternative designated for parking, portable toilets, alfresco for restaurants, and other means. When pedestrians find sidewalks friendly, they tend to maximize its utilization. They should be designated for people and not for any other purpose. This will not just manage the human traffic but most people will comply with pedestrian rules and regulations.

Conclusion

In order to come up with a walkable sidewalk, they should be designed according to what the users need. They need convenience and assurance that these are safe for utilization at any time of the day. Sidewalks should be friendly for people for them to consider walking instead of using public transportation. Moreover, a highly utilized sidewalk will constitute to less vehicular and human traffic.