Europe, By the Numbers
Europe, By the Numbers
Adrienne BoettingerTuesday,2 June 2015
Europe is a magical land that transfixes the minds of many Americans. Why do Europeans seem so much cooler than us? If we moved there would we get our own castles and titles, particularly if we have been dedicated to practicing our princess wave? This obsession seems as based in reality as when my British cousins thought I was friends with cowboys and went to Disney World every day since I was a ‘Murican. Now at the time they were 3 and 5 years old so it’s a little bit more understandable. But why the hell are grown-ass ‘Muricans virulently pro- or anti-Europe?
Because though many Americans secretly wish we were a little better at traveling or eating massive amounts of cheese like our European counterparts, all things European are not celebrated here in the colonies. Their version of socialized healthcare would make the Republican-held Congress pine for the laxity of Obamacare. We’re not sure if it would be possible for American politicians to sufficiently inflate their comparative rhetoric; if Obamacare is the worst thing to happen to America since slavery and is as evil as the Holocaust, what the hell would Ben Carson, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz or any other number of national and local politicians say about socialized medicine in Europe?
But rather than focus on stateside political shenanigans, let’s examine some fun facts and see if it adds up to an answer as to why some of us can’t get enough of loving or hating Europe:
4,305: Any store with a footprint of 4,305 square feet in France will be legally obligated to donate food to charities or animal feed rather than letting it rot in a landfill (the UK is pursuing similar methods to stop food waste but so far those programs are voluntary).
1: Ireland became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote. The conservative, Catholic nature of the country makes the feat all the more impressive.
1.6 billion: How many euros Greece owes to the International Monetary Fund in June of this year (though many in Athens say the country can’t afford to pay).
3,419: That’s how many migrants died trying to get to Europe in 2014. 2015 looks to be on track to top that number. The situation is out of control to the point of being a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions — so far European governmental response has been less than impressive.
2: For this year’s Cannes Film Festival, a pair of falcons protected A-list celebrities from food-foraging seagulls swooping down to steal their crudités (note to self: acquire a pair of majestic falcons prior to this year’s vacation at the beach).
76.8: As in that’s the record number of miles per hour Britain’s poop-powered bus has reached. That’s right: poop-powered. To run this bus, methane gas from cows is compressed, liquefied and stored in a series of tanks fixed to the inside of the bus’s roof.
186: If the cow poop-powered bus wasn’t enough to unsettle your delicate colonial sensibilities, then prepare to be impressed by the 186 miles the UK’s human and food waste powered bus can run on a single gallon. That is the annual waste of 5 humans. Yay science!
4: That’s how many weeks of paid vacation workers living in EU countries are guaranteed — compared with 0 paid vacation days or holidays guaranteed in the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave (making us the only developed country with no legally mandated paid leave. We’re #1!).