Urban development, rapid industrialization, energy production and economic growth have been primary issues that all countries are now concerned about. New technologies have been developed to facilitate our lives and make the cities we live in engines of never-ending growth and innovation. All these achievements, however, have been accompanied by excessive use of natural resources and increasing energy consumption, causing a significant increase in waste generation, gas emission, and therefore, pollution.
Scientists and environmentalists have been trying to find the right alternatives and approaches to make cities more liveable, by analyzing the level of sustainability in urban areas. Their goal is to find out how can cities around the world be eco-efficient and how they can maintain a high level of sustainability. They have applied different theories developed in the twentieth century such green urbanism, sustainable development and green businesses, and have therefore created the concept of “green city”, an innovative approach to improve cities’ environmental performance and ecological sustainability.
Today there is a general agreement on the basic features that would make a city green, even though there is no universal definition of this concept. Needless to say, the world today is suffering from a severe environmental crisis that is threatening our health, wellbeing and even our lives. In order to combat this phenomenon, scientists and experts have come up with the necessary tools and criteria to evaluate and rank the cities of the world by their sustainability level and environmental performance, and find out the best practices to protect our cities and our planet from what might be humankind’s biggest threat.
These 5 cities are considered to be the world’s greenest cities, merely for the responsible practices and innovative measures their governments and citizens have been implementing.
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Not only it is a youthful city with breathtaking sceneries, but also a leading example in sustainability, continuously-improved air quality, and clean technology. There are over 200 open green parks in vancouver, which makes it perfect for tourists seeking fresh air, nature and relaxation.
Just like all other Scandinavian capitals, Copenhagen has a very low CO2 emission, as the city uses mostly renewable energy. When flying over this city, you may spot its giant windmills providing the city with clean energy. Copenhagen’s dedication to high standards of living in an environmentally-friendly way makes it one of the greenest cities in Europe.
What makes Curitiba the greenest city in South America is the ultra-efficient public transport system, the innovative recycling programs and the low CO2 emission. Green parks are open to the public in all parts of the city which makes Curitiba the green sanctuary of Brazil.
Portland, Oregon, USA
Portland is not only a “hipster city”. It is also known for its dedication to embrace nature and consume local food. This city uses 20% more renewable energy than the national average. From LEED-certified buildings to banning use of plastic bag, to a unique architectural style, Portland is certainly one of the greenest cities in the United States and the world.
Bristol, United Kingdom
Located in South West England, Bristol is the perfect destination for nature lovers who happen to be in the UK. Its developed investment plans for transport and energy make it one of the most eco-friendly cities in Europe. It has also been working on reducing its contribution to climate change and reducing energy consumption, which made Bristol the European Green Capital of 2015.
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