When you live in Europe for a while you start to understand that the American way of life is really very wasteful.
Huge cars when little cars get you from A to B just as well, often faster.
Washing machines that wash your clothes in 30 minutes but don't get them clean, as opposed to the European ones, that take 90 to 120 minutes, use half the water and half the electricity, and actually get the job done. They do this by letting laundry rest in the suds intermittently, which is a really efficient way of getting the dirt out. My Mom used to start the laundry the night before, soaking the stuff that was really dirty – and then things got really clean too!
Dryers summer and winter, when there are huge areas in the US that have plenty of sunshine to dry all the laundry and make it smell nice to boot.
Office lights that stay on 24/7, whether someone needs them or not. AC turned to freezing temps necessitating a sweater inside instead of being reasonable about it: hey, it's summer, so 75° or 80° is reasonable!
Houses built so flimsily that it takes a huge amount of energy to heat or cool them. Single pane windows, when double or triple would reduce energy consumption significantly.
I could go on, but it would still be essentially the same thing: using significantly more energy than necessary to get tasks done.
Now you could argue Americans have a right to consume as much energy as they like, and you would be right. Of course they do. But it is the people who stand to gain the most from such energy consumption that are the ones calling most loudly for the right to the "American Way of Life." They would have you believe the "American Way of Life" can only be lived by using huge and wasteful machinery which they want to produce and sell.
My question is: does all of this energy consumption make for a better/more pleasant/easier lifestyle? I can't see that it does. What I see is huge amounts of waste. And everything that is wasted needs to be produced first, so it's not only "stuff" that gets wasted but also the energy of human beings who produce/refine/transport/sell it.
The sad thing is more and more people on Earth think they want to emulate America. And what is even sadder, they don't want to emulate what is good: the generosity, kindness, love of liberty and freedom, basic decency, open mindedness, live-and-let-live attitude… and I could go on …
They want to emulate the consumption they see on TV.
I welcome your thoughts and suggestions. The first – and hardest – step of a journey is in the mind…