Big city green lights
We are continuously worrying about the effect’s climate change is currently having on our environment and ultimately fear the worst for our future. Here, we have highlighted 10 cities that are leading the way to green, clean cities, full of life. Stereotypically cities are over-populated, polluted and generally have very little tranquillity about them. With the higher footfall and heavy traffic, this is to be expected – you don’t get the nickname ‘the big-smoke’ without some serious polluting. However, this is not a written rule, and many cities have shown commitment to change, which will not interrupt the natural hustle and bustle that we secretly admire about these landmarks. Key examples are evident whether this is introducing more efficient public transport systems, planting more greenery, encouraging cycling with additional bike stations, or providing charging ports for the growing electric transportation. This in turn will prevent the emissions of CO2 and pave the way to delivering a brighter city life. Now for our top ten cities that are giving us hope that mass change is coming:
Copenhagen – Denmark: The city that leads by example
- Copenhagen has an inspiring commitment to sustainability; it’s eco-friendly approach has seen the city be crowned Europe’s most sustainable city for many years, recognised in 2014 when it was awarded the European Green Capital Award
- The city aims to become the worlds first carbon-neutral capital by 2025 and is actively working towards the realisation of this
- Over 70% of the city’s hotel rooms hold an official eco-certification
- Cycling is THE way to travel, and will always take priority on the roads (and rightly so.)
- Copenhagen pride themselves on key elements of its architectural development; water, light, open spaces, sustainable living and quality of life. Which is why it is voted the happiest city in the world and often cited as one of the world’s best countries to live in
- The city is surrounded by waterways with canals, beaches, lakes and even its own harbour. Solar powered boats are available to hire for locals and tourists – have you booked your trip yet?
- Our recommendation: GoBoat Copenhagen – you’ll have the chance to be the captain of your own picnic boat and cruise around the harbour and canals, without added pollution or noise. Incredibly, the boats are powered by solar energy generated from the rental store’s photovoltaic roof!
Stockholm – Sweden: The city of cleanliness
- Stockholm is renowned for its cleanliness, if our word isn’t enough, it made the top 10 cleanest cities’ in the world in 2016
- The city is famous for its outstanding public transportation system, reducing the levels of pollution and fuel consumption within the city
- It has managed to reduced carbon emissions by 25% since the nineties and aims to be fossil-fuel free by 2050!
Vancouver – Canada: The city with the lowest carbon emissions
- Vancouver has the lowest carbon emission among major cities in North America
- The city has made a conscious effort to increase charging point for cars
- It has protected cycle lanes to separate cyclists from vehicle traffic, reducing the risk of bike related road accidents and promoting cycling as an attractive mode of transport.
- The city has a ‘Green City Plan for 2020’, this includes:
- Moving towards 100% renewable energy for 2050
- Farmer markets to encourage eating local foods, lowering the carbon footprint
- Green buildings – require all buildings built from 2020 onwards to be carbon neutral in operations
- Green transportation – making cycling, walking and public transport the preferred transport option.
Amsterdam – Netherlands: The city of bikes
- Amsterdam is known worldwide for it’s bicycle culture, it is said that there are more bikes in the city than people and has seen a 40% increase in cyclists over the last 20 years
- It holds the title as the most bicycle friendly city in the world
- The cycling reduces carbon emissions significantly as well as air pollution
- If you’re not a fan of cycling, no problem – you can use electric vehicles with over 300 charging stations around the city.
Curitiba – Brazil: The city of recycling
- You may not have heard of this city in Brazil, but you need to listen up. Curitiba recycles a staggering 70% of its waste to reusable energy or products
- The city has an incentive program that exchanges recyclables and exchangeable items with tokens, snacks, sweets and cash (this is something I’m sure we’d all be interested in!)
- Curitiba has a robust public transport system, encouraging locals and tourist to travel together, instead of using personal vehicles
- With 14 forests and 16 parks in urban areas, locals are only a stone throw away from wildlife and fresh air, rather than feeling suffocated with high-rise buildings in every corner of the city.
Singapore – Asia: The greenest city in Asia
- Singapore is known for its intertwining architecture and nature, making it Asia’s greenest city – with the most striking views
- Trees are virtually everywhere you go encouraging wildlife to return to the city opposed to escaping the heavy pollution
- The city holds the world’s largest vertical garden, Tree house condominium in Bukit Timah. It includes heat-reducing windows and motion sensors at staircases that activate lights automatically.
Reykjavik – Iceland: The city that will be fossil fuel free by 2050
- Reykjavik is on track to achieving its goal of being fossil fuel free by 2050
- Currently only 0.1% of Iceland’s total electricity is produced from fossil fuels – how incredible is that!
- The city uses geothermal wells to power the city. This is done by converting water into steam, which is then used to generate electricity.
Portland – Oregon: The city teaching citizens to embrace the environment
- Portland has lowered its carbon emissions by 17% in 12 years, proving that any city can endeavour to become green. Action is action!
- The city recycles an amazing 63% of its waste
- It also has a cycling community much like many of the other cities we have mentioned, enabling the city to reduce emissions even further.
San Francisco – America: The city free of plastic bottles
- Now San Francisco is a city which we should all hail – the first American city to ban plastic water bottles, stopping single use plastic in one hit
- The city also has a goal to be waste free by 2020
- It is known as the greenest city in North America and the residents pride themselves on being the most ‘environmentally involved’ in the world.
Cape Town – South Africa: The greenest city in Africa
- Cape town is known for its effective waste management strategy
- The Carbon Disclosure Project recognised Cape Town for accurately measuring and disclosing its energy and climate action data on an annual basis
- The city also obtains 10-20% of its energy from renewable sources.
Feeling inspired? So are we! Let’s take note, take action and strive to make all our cities worldwide greener, more sustainable and ultimately a healthy, happier world for generations to come.
Knowledge is power, it’s time to make a change.