Top Ten Greenest Cities. The world is slowly turning sustainable and that is a good thing. Many cities are now Going Green. A proof is the continued growing list of the greenest cities in the world. But, what makes a city Green? How does one determine which is Greener than the other? Or how do worldwide organizations come up with the Greenest of them all?
If you are going to travel the world, where would you like to go? Are you going to include the city’s sustainability programs in your criteria for choosing your holiday destination?
If you think of a green city in terms of recycling programs, bike lanes, ample green open and public spaces like community gardens and parks, then the list below is surely going to make you drool. These top ten greenest cities to visit have made it to this list because they have been responsible for fighting the battle against climate change to the highest level. These cities do not just claim that they are Going Green; they do so through large scale efforts to do so, therefore they set good examples to the rest of the world.
These ten cities have been chosen because of their commendable utilization of renewable energy, promotion and support of green lifestyles, endorsement of green laws for the protection of the environment, and their use of innovative strategies to accomplish their goals for greener communities.
10. Oslo, Norway
Oslo, Norway has always made it to the list of the greenest cities in the world and it is not really surprising. This city managed to be the greenest in the Norway despite the fact that it is also one of the most populated. Oslo, is indeed a very commendable city for tourists because despite the continuously increasing number of residents, it still manages to sustain its objective to stay green and make use of innovative sustainable methods.
Oslo was named the world’s second greenest city in 2007, also as one of the most inhabitable. Many other European cities are also adopting true sustainable practices for better quality of life, not just for their local residents but also for their visitors. Long before the other cities decided to join the wagon for sustainable earth, Oslo already made its own mark and thus it was due to its has a long history regarding worldwide environmental concern.
When it comes to greenhouse gas emission, it is a well-known fact that Oslo has the lowest compared to other metropolitan cities in Europe. Thanks to the full cooperation of the population and the incentive given by the government for each new building developed and for the promotion of energy efficiency. Additionally, it is worth mentioning that 85 percent of the school children in Oslo either walk or ride their bikes to and from school. Local commuters use hydroelectric-powered public transportation.
This Norwegian capital aims to effectively and completely phase out fossil fuel use by the year 2020. About 140 city buses are soon going to run using biofuel processed from collected food waste.
9. Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm, Sweden has always managed to make it on the list of one of the most sustainable cities worth visiting in Europe. In 2010, this Swedish city was named as the European Green Capital due to its high commitment to sustainability.
Stockholm’s very first attempts to be environmentally conscious started during the 1960s when a big campaign to clean the abundant waterways was launched. Today, rivers have been revived and one proof of that is the edible salmons caught in the city river.
Just like Oslo, Stockholm is also one of the European cities with less carbon emissions at a mere 3.4 tons/capita, where the average is 10 tons/capita in other European cities.
Stockholm also has its Environmental Program for 2012-2015 and it is based on the city’s vision to be a growing attractive city, where the people’s and nature’s needs balance off each other in a healthy environment characterized by quality living, functionality and biological diversity.
Stockholm also aims to prioritize other sustainable-inspired programs like encouraging the people to use their bike or walk, to lessen the noise levels, to increase eco-food product purchase, to reduce carbon emissions from 3.4 tons to even less than 3 tons per every resident, and to lessen incorrect recycling processes.
8. Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen is already a famous tourist destination because of its stunning sceneries, wonderful castles, and its pride, the Little Mermaid. But this Denmark city is not just all about being a popular tourist destination; it has also successfully made it on the list of one of the greenest cities of the world that is worth visiting.
Just like the other top green cities, Copenhagen was chosen due to its dedication to high standards of quality living in an efficient environmental means. Additionally, this city is also a European Green Capital title holder due to the government’s and the citizens’ efforts to achieve and sustain a very clean and hygienic environment.
Therefore, Copenhagen is indeed can be considered as among the most remarkable tourist destinations to go; after all, it has also been dubbed as one of the most livable city in Europe.
7. Freiburg, Germany
Freiburg in Germany is one of the cleanest cities in the world, giving it the chance to also be on the list of the greenest cities worth visiting. This German city is very unique because it is a car-free city. Amazing, isn’t it? But it is true; in this modern time when almost every city road is congested with heavy traffic due to the increasing number of fossil-fuel powered vehicles, this city has managed to stay medieval and traditional.
What makes Freiburg a very popular destination is that it is beautifully surrounded by lush green hills, making it a prettily fenced city. Who wouldn’t want to spend a good holiday on this city that has ben rebuild to be highly sustainable? It is car-free and highly sustainable.
Freiburg is also proud of its overabundance of solar panels atop of its buildings as varied as schools, local churches, and even the City Hall. One of the city’s main objectives is to continuously cultivate solar energy and to efficiently reduce its carbon emissions by 40 percent by the year 2030.
6. Malmö, Sweden
Malmö is the third largest city in Sweden and it is a good model of metropolitan sustainability because it leads in the promotion of renewable energy solutions and due to its abundant green and fresh space. The city is considered one of the greenest cities in the world because it is home to the world’s third-largest wind-energy park and because it of its great objective to make all of its city operations climate-neutral in five years.
Additionally, the Western Harbor, a district within Malmö, effectively runs on 100-percent renewable energy gathered from the sun, the wind and through hydro power. The neighborhood also uses biofuels that are efficiently produced from organic waste. The buildings here are constructed using sustainable materials and have been designed and planned to be energy-efficient.
Western Harbor is also powered entirely by locally produced renewable energy and it makes use of vacuum waste chutes to keep the streets garbage truck-free. With all the sustainable plans and energy-efficient projects that Malmö is focusing on, the city should be climate neutral by the year 2020.
5. Vancouver, Canada
Vancouver is Canada’s greenest city. This city aims to be called the world’s greenest city by 2020. It is certainly a good option for a sustainable destination because it is a center for clean-technology innovation like solar-powered garbage compactors that can be found within the city. Each of this compactor is measured just like a regular trash can but can hold up to five times the waste. This means fewer emissions-spewing trash trucks, low-carbon emissions and increased generation of renewable resources for up to 90 power.
What’s more enticing about Vancouver is that it has over 200 open clean parks; making it possible for tourists to really enjoy the fresh Canada air.
Vancouver is indeed a good place to visit. It may be densely populated and a bit expensive, but it is a desirable city to live because of its moderate weather and clean environment. It is after Canada’s cleanest city and one of the world’s greenest.
4 San Francisco, California
San Francisco in California has always been voted as one of the cleanest cities in North America and there are plenty of reasons why that is so. First, San Francisco was the first US key city that banned the use of plastic bag. Second, in October of 2009 this city launched its mandatory recycling program enabling it to keep 77 percent discarded waster materials safely away from the landfills — this is the highest diversion rate in the US.
San Francisco is also able to demonstrate that zero waste is a very attainable and environmentally responsible objective. It has been the city’s pride to announce that the trash collection campaigns have been highly successful mainly because the staffs of the city trash collection agencies have effectively reached out to educate the residents and business owners that it is important to recycle and compost for the achievement of a zero-waste city.
Of course, there has never been any question about San Francisco being a highly popular tourist destination. But the fact that it is one of the greenest cities in the world makes it a more appealing choice than some.
3. Portland, Oregon
On the number three spot as the world’s top greenest cities is another US city, Portland in Oregon. This city does not need too much introduction as – time and again – it has continuously beaten all the other US cities. Being Green has been achieved in Portland, now the city is focusing more on embracing nature. Local residents are now making it a popular practice to eat locally produced products, to carpool, to recycle and to make the buildings LEED-certified.
As Oregon’s largest city, Portland has efficiently utilized renewable energy resources for up to 20 percent more than what is being implemented nationally. Just like San Francisco, Portland was also one of the first US cities to ban the use of plastic bags. It also has about 250 miles bike lanes, trails and paths. As a matter of fact, Portland is named as the United State’s most bikeable city.
2. Bristol, South West England
Bristol has been declared as the United Kingdom’s greenest city and it has been announced as Europe’s greenest city, beating Brussels, Glasgow, Lubljana and the current title holder, Nantes.
Some people may not be very much familiar with Bristol as a tourist destination in the UK. But with this latest achievement, it will be no doubt that many people from all over the world are going to see what this city really has to offer. After all, it wouldn’t be Europe’s greenest and the second in the world, if it has nothing unique and truly beautiful offer.
On top of the list as the number one greenest city in the world is Reykjavik in Iceland. Iceland, in itself is a truly unique and magical country. It has a culture all its own. Its people are unique in their own ways. It is no mystery then that one of its cities will make it into the list, and getting the top spot is surely something to be truly proud of.
Reykjavik runs virtually totally on renewable energy. This island state is rich with geothermal activity being effectively converted into renewable clean energy. The city also utilizes only 0.1 percent fossil fuels in providing power for electricity. Now, that is a number that has not been achieved by any other city.
Presently, Reykjavik gathers its energy for electricity, hot water and heat from geothermal resources and hydro power. By 2050, it is estimated that the city will be highly independent from using fossil fuel.
For those who are not familiar with Reykjavik or Iceland it elf, it is worth knowing that being the greenest city in the world, also makes this city one of the most coveted destinations today and for years to come.