Climate change is becoming an increasingly important issue to people around the world, and in order to curb it, we need to work together as a global community. There are many cities around the world that are implementing environmentally friendly policies to combat climate change and make life more comfortable for their citizens as well.
Many of the world’s most environmentally friendly cities are growing quickly. Eco-conscious people flock to them in search of green spaces, alternative transit options, recycling programs, and other measures that make the city a better place to live. Here are five of the world’s most sustainable cities, and the environmental policies they are implementing to help preserve our planet.
The World’s Most Sustainable Cities
Time and time again, Copenhagen has been cited as the world’s most greenest cities in the world for its unwavering commitment to the environment. The city has made a concerted effort to encourage cycling among its citizens, with bike paths located throughout the city. Many of the bike routes are separate from auto traffic, which helps keep bikers safe. Roughly 50 percent of Copenhagen’s citizens bike to work or school, and only 29 percent own a car. You’ll even find bike rentals conveniently available throughout the city for tourists.
Copenhagen also has comprehensive public transport for those who can’t or don’t want to bike. There is a huge Metro network, with urban and regional trains as well as buses. The entire public transportation network runs 24 hours per day. As a result of Copenhagen’s alternative transportation options, they aim to become carbon neutral by 2025.
Copenhagen has also implemented a variety of other eco-friendly initiatives. Roughly a quarter of the food sold in Copenhagen is organic, and many of the city’s top restaurants serve only organic and ethically produced food. Copenhagen also prides itself on its extremely clean drinking water, and their harbor is so clean you can swim in it.
Portland is one of the most sustainable cities in the United States, and it’s become a top destination for nature lovers. Throughout the city, you will find clean, beautiful parks and plenty of trees. The city actively protects its existing trees and plants new ones, which helps to offset CO2 emissions. Portland also offers extensive alternative transportation options, which is particularly impressive given its relatively small size. Light rail and streetcar networks make commuting by public transit easy, and there are miles of bike paths throughout the city. With such beautiful surroundings, it’s not surprising that so many people choose to bike here.
Portland is also incredibly committed to clean energy use. Over a quarter of office buildings in this urban area have an eco–friendly certification from LEED or Energy Star. More than 50 percent of the city’s energy currently comes from renewable sources, and the city government has big plans to increase that number. Additionally, Portland has been leading the way on recycling for decades, with roughly two-thirds of the city recycling or composting their waste.
Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town has been investing in new sources of energy for years to try to reduce South Africa’s dependence on coal. They have constructed South Africa’s first commercial wind farm, and they aim to have at least 10 percent of the city’s energy come from renewable sources by 2020. They are also pushing to install solar water heaters and other solar energy generators to take advantage of the area’s sunny weather.
Cape Town also supports local and organic farming, and you’ll find farmer’s markets easily accessible around the city. Many residents even grow their own vegetables at home. The city is very bike friendly as well, and in recent years they have been improving roads to create safe cycling routes throughout the city.
Stockholm’s residents really care about the environment, and you can see this just as you walk down the streets of the city. Stockholm is known for being one of the most pristine cities in the world. Although it is a large city, there’s almost no heavy industry, which keeps the air free of pollution.
Stockholm has taken a wide range of initiatives to become greener – they are looking to eliminate their use of fossil fuels by 2040. One of their solutions is to use biofuel generated from the city’s waste, which citizens are already relying on. They also have an extensive public transit system, which includes three subway lines, four light rail lines, and countless bus lines and regional train lines to keep the city connected without a car. They also use energy efficient heating technologies and recycle unused heat from public buildings, like their stadium.
And lastly.. Fairware’s home city! Vancouver has the lowest greenhouse gas emissions in North America, and that alone makes it one of the world’s most eco-friendly cities. However, Vancouver goes further to preserve the environment. 93 percent of the city’s energy comes from renewable sources, and they are taking steps to ensure that all residents have convenient access to green spaces. It has a huge number of LEED certified buildings and strict regulations for the environmental friendliness of new structures. The city is hoping to build on their already strong public transit and bike infrastructure.
At Fairware, we help contribute to making Vancouver one of the greenest cities in the world. We have a membership with HUB Cycling and participate in Bike to Work Week. We even rely on bike couriers whenever possible to save energy. We are members of Climate Smart, and as a Certified B Corp, we meet high environmental performance standards.