Image taken at the top of a snow-peaked hill in Salzburg, Austria

As the United States leaves the Paris Climate Agreement, showing itself to be a true disappointment among many nations, states, environmentalists, and children, the European Union (EU) and China speed up their work on combating climate change.

Fortunately, the EU is willing to work with several individual states within the United States on ramping up environmental programs; and thankfully, several states are willing to work with the EU; my state, California, is one of them.

Working on climate change is not an option, it is requisite and mandatory.

Having just spent three weeks in central and eastern Europe, I learned a LOT about what they are doing to be sustainable, and what WE can do to emulate them.

First, here are some of the things I noticed:

1. Cars are more efficient with better fuel economy.

2. Renewable-energy use is normal.

3. Many countries produce very little waste.

4. Recycling is as natural as walking.

This became noticeable in particular during our picnics. We like to do picnics, and when you have a 3-year-old, picnics are almost a necessity. You can pull up anywhere and eat any time. In every city, we found delicious bakeries with whole-grain breads, artisan jellies, and delicious fresh produce. The one challenge we encountered through our picnics however, was the sheer inability to find disposable silverware. ANYWHERE!!

Plastic silverware – always prevalent in the United States

In the United States, disposable silverware, flatware, plates, cups, are ubiquitous. You almost can’t avoid it! But, the opposite was true in Europe.

In fact, it became so difficult to find any disposable products, that at one of our hotels, I asked if we could borrow a fork and knife, made of metal, for some of our daily outings. As it turns out, they ended up just giving me the fork and knife to take with us for the entire trip, making our picnics easier.

Recycling is also commonplace,…