5 Most Sustainable Cities in the World
This world may seem unending, but if we don’t take care of it, we will one day run out of the resources we need for our quality of life. Our irresponsible behavior can also lead to the erosion of the ozone layer and climate change, which can have catastrophic consequences for all life on Earth.
Sustainability is about preserving natural resources and reducing our impact on the environment. You can take steps as an individual to live a more sustainable life, such as recycling or using public transportation. You can also move to a city that is taking steps as a community to protect the planet we all live on.
Here are the top five most sustainable cities, according to the ARCADIS Sustainable Cities Index:
Frankfurt has been taking steps to be a more sustainable city for decades. Twenty-five years ago, it created an independent energy agency with the goal of reducing its C02 emissions. The city has been successful even though its energy usage and office space have both grown. By 2050, the city also plans to provide 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources, and it plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 95 percent. More than half of the city’s land area is dedicated to green spaces such as forests, parks and farm land.
London scored the second spot on the list thanks to its high ratings for profit and people, meaning that the city is thriving economically and socially. However, the report noted that London has a long way to go to improve its infrastructure and provide more housing. The city’s mayor has already presented a 50-year plan for the city that addresses these and many more issues for growth and sustainability.
More than a third of Copenhagen’s residents bike to work each day, and there are 217 miles of bike lanes criss-crossing the city. Denmark also leads the world in wind energy production, and it provides about 19 percent of the country’s power. Copenhagen aims to become the world’s first carbon-neutral capital by 2025, and it seems to be on target. Numerous building initiatives have been enacted, including requiring that all new construction includes some type of vegetation in the design, such as a green roof.
The Dutch capital has instituted a number of sustainability efforts, including saving energy by connecting homes to district heating systems, using greener materials and practices in new construction, expanding low emission zones, creating more efficient production systems, and increasing electric transportation. The city is promoting the use of solar and wind energy, and it is renovating older homes and government facilities to be more eco-friendly.
Despite being Europe’s largest international port, Rotterdam still emits fewer tons of carbon per capita than London or Shanghai. The city aims to cut its carbon footprint by 50 percent with initiatives like green roof tops, solar-powered floating homes built right on the water, water plazas to reduce the strain on the sewage systems, and transportation corridors that encourage the movement of plant and wild life. The city is also encouraging the growth of more bio-based businesses.
Unfortunately, we can’t all be fortunate to live in cities like these that make sustainability a priority. In fact, some cities have downright atrocious standards of air quality, waste, pollution, and more. The failure to create a sustainable system doesn’t just harm the environment; it can also harm the citizens in real and immediate ways.
For example, water that has been polluted by chemical waste can increase the risk of cancer and other dangerous diseases. Homes made with asbestos are still a major problem too. Get more information about asbestos-related illnesses and legal actions citizens can take at www.baronandbudd.com. Work to affect change in your community. It will improve your life and the lives of those around you.