Green Living: Which Cities Are Lowering their Carbon Footprint
The 5 Greenest Cities in the United States
For generations, major cities across the Unites States have been looked upon as being the most major contributors of pollution in our environment. And while that has been true in the past, today, many of the country’s largest cities are taking steps to lower their carbon footprints. Some have become so successful that they’re even considered to be greener living environments than nearby suburban and rural areas.
If you are looking to relocate, but you want to make sure the city you’re moving to is environmentally responsible and progressive, then here are five of the greenest cities in the United States.
San Diego, CA
Located in beautiful southern California, San Diego has more farmers markets per capita than any other city in the country. In fact, between 55 and 60 certified farmers’ markets operate every week in the city. And all throughout the city, businesses have adapted their operations to be more environmentally conscious. Examples include The Lodge at Torrey Pines, which has taken incredible strides in its recycling and composting programs, and LEGOLAND, which features benches made from recycled milk jugs.
Seattle was one of the greenest cities in America before going green was cool. In 2000, the city committed to planting more than 20,000 trees in residents’ gardens by Earth Day via its Millennium Woods Legacy Project, thus adding much more oxygen-producing greenery throughout the city. And ever since, green living has been a primary focus for those living here. Seattle also has a waste recycling program that has tripled in the last year alone, and an Office of Sustainability and Environment that is dedicated to lowering the carbon footprint of the city via some of the country’s most innovative conservation policies and programs.
The list of top five greenest cities in the U.S. fluctuates every year, but one city that is always included is Honolulu, Hawaii. Not only is Honolulu a tropical paradise filled with an overabundance of lush rainforests and undeveloped land, but it also has the lowest greenhouse gas emissions of any city in the country. It has the highest percentage of green space; it is a major ecotourism destination, and it has one of the highest concentrations of farmers markets per capita in the country. With a tremendous amount of second-hand stores, vintage outlets, and antique stores, Hawaii also leads the way when it comes to upcycling.
While most major cities see individual businesses taking strides to become more environmentally responsible, in Nashville, Tennessee, there is an entire neighborhood committed to the cause. The Gulch is the first (and so far, only) community in the southeast to be LEED-certified. It has LEED traffic lights, an outstanding public transportation system, and it is very accommodating to bicyclists and walkers.
San Francisco, CA
Just like Honolulu, San Francisco, California is a regular feature on just about every “green city” list. In fact, it is often ranked as the greenest city in North America. San Francisco leads the way in terms of solar energy use, with nearly 14 out of every 10,000 homes using the sun’s energy to produce heat. This is nearly double the national average. Also helping out the city’s low carbon footprint is the fact that 10% of its workforce walks to work every day and it has one of the highest numbers of farmers markets per capita. The feather in San Francisco’s cap is the fact that the city was able to eliminate 44,000 tons of landfill waste through its innovative recycling and composting programs.
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