The Germans do many, many things better than we do.
Their public transportation and streets in general are immaculate except for cigarette butts. And graffiti. But I think they like their graffiti, otherwise wouldn't they clean it up? Public transportation is used by people of all socio-ecomonic groups.
They use almost exclusively use led lights.
They have the fancy toilets where you adjust the flush in accordance to the mass of your deposit, so to speak. Everywhere. And a way to stop the flushing if your deposit has already gone down.
They have very few obese people. I attribute this to: biking all the time, small portions of food, and dogs.
They bike everywhere, as I've mentioned. People of all ages. It's convenient, the paths are well constructed, it's just amazing.
The food portions are small, and they raise the price significantly for a larger size. Let's take ice cream for example, say a one scoop (ball, they call it...) is 2 Euros, but two scoops is 3 Euros. In the US, the next size up would be somewhere between 20 and 50 cents. A larger soda will cost significantly more than a small one.
They have a ton of dogs, and the dogs can go everywhere. Everwhere. Food court in the mall. Museums. Restaurants. Anywhere. I think walking these dogs helps keep them up and moving.
They do a great job with recycling. They even have Goodwill type boxes beside their other recycling things. They have opportunities to recycle everywhere.
They have a ton of electricity, and they love to use it. They conserve water, and paper (claiming they're almost out of trees) but run electricity like it's water to us. They have ample wind farms and even a nuclear power plant right IN Dresden, thought I heard they're going to close it.
They heat the whole outdoors. Seriously.Heated garden terrace.
It's not all amazing, though.
Germany is TERRIBLE at universal access. There are hardly any accommodations for handicapped people. If you're in a wheelchair, tough noogies. There are only about 1 in four tram stops that are wheelchair accessible. There are stairs and cobblestones everywhere. Spain was much better, but not nearly as good as the US. I just couldn't believe how glaring it was that there were NO ramps, NO handicapped bathrooms, etc.
The Germans and Spaniards have two horrible habits. Smoking and tanning.
Seriously, Americans look much younger than their European counterparts because most of us don't smoke and most of us don't tan.
Don't you worry 'bout Big Tobacco. They've got all of Europe to sell to.
This is also why they waste so much electricity with heaters and things outdoors. Smoking inside is illegal, so most restaurants are in the street next to the restaurant with oodles of umbrella-ed tables. Some umbrellas even have a heat source.
So, you can sit inside and sweat because they don't have air conditioning, or your can sit outside and be second-hand smoked to death.
It's a really tough choice. Really, it is. Especially Since they don't have air conditioning. You either swelter in somewhat smoke-free air, or feel comfortable in smoky air. It's a good thing my doctor told me to continue my asthma meds until I returned from Europe.
Smoking room at the Barcelona airport.
Smoking room at a mall in Germany.
The bong store.
What more can I say?